An Immersive Titanic Exhibition Has Floated Into London

Titanic: The Exhibition ★★★☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 31 months ago

Last Updated 17 December 2021

An Immersive Titanic Exhibition Has Floated Into London Titanic: The Exhibition 3
A recreation of the first class corridor.

Want to see how plush the top end cabins were on the Titanic? Well now you can — thanks to a major exhibition that includes recreations of parts of the ship.

We get to 'board' the experience along a ramp with suitcases either side, see what the third class cabins looked like, and then wander along a corridor styled as the first class section, complete with fancy light fixtures.

The exhibition includes some items from the sunken ship itself — no mean feat given where it ended up. It also includes items from the dockyard where it was built, and from less remembered sister ship The Olympic, which thankfully didn't sink. When it comes to actual items from the ship, a plate or a journal may not look like much but it's the tragic human stories that go with them that are powerful: among them the wedding ring of a poor woman who tried to cling to the side of a life raft, but succumbed to the freezing waters — though not before the ring slipped off her finger, and was found days later in the bottom of the lifeboat.

A detailed model showing what life was like inside the liner.

The exhibition has chosen to go light on the labels and keep most of the information on the audio guide — a sound choice, as it lets us focus on the objects and the blown up photographs on display (there's a lot of enlarged photos in this exhibition).

While the guide is informative it often descends into sentimentality, with soaring music including an instrumental version of, obviously, that Celine Dion earworm. When I'm looking at the tiny shoes of a child that died, or learning about the real Jack and Rose — a married man absconding with the younger woman he'd fallen in love with, who were separated forever on that fateful day — I don't need stirring music to appreciate how awful these tragedies were. The simpler moments are more powerful, like the list of names of all those people who perished at the end, reminding visitors how many could have been saved if the ship had more lifeboats.

Jewellery of Kate Phillips, whose story was the inspiration for the film. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)

The show has clearly put a lot of effort into the immersive elements, and provides great insights into the building of the ship, life aboard, the people who travelled on the Titanic, the tragic sinking and the discovery of the wreck.

It's a lot to cover and, while it's all fascinating, it feels like the influence of the movie is always lurking in the background, with the show never quite deciding if it's a museum exhibition or something more cinematic — if it had leaned more towards the former, it would have been stronger for it. That doesn't mean movie and non-movies fans alike won't enjoy it, but it's an important factor to consider given the steep ticket prices.

Titanic: The Exhibition is on at Dock X London, Canada Water, from 17 December. At time of writing the finish date has not been confirmed. Tickets are £27.90 for adults.