An enormous 80kg bronze forecastle bell from White Star liner, SS Afric, has been lent to Titanic Hotel Belfast for a limited time, where it will be on display during the summer. The bell makes its return journey to Harland & Wolff where the vessel was originally designed and built more than 120 years ago.
The bell currently displaying at Titanic Hotel Belfast was recovered from Afric’s wreck, which is owned today by Malcolm Brock. A popular, if challenging dive, due to the depth of water it lies in and its exposed position. Sadly, more people have died and been seriously injured diving on the wreck than were lost in her sinking.
Creative Director at Harcourt Developments, John Doherty, is delighted to welcome the bell on its journey to the building where the ship was designed. “The entire White Star Line fleet was designed in this building and constructed on the slipways outside so to be able to display the bell 120 years after the ship left Harland & Wolff is a great honour. We would like to thank the owners of the bell for generously lending this historic maritime artefact and we invite everyone to visit the hotel to see the exhibit for themselves."
Titanic Hotel Belfast now occupies the former Harland & Wolff Headquarters which have been refurbished by Harcourt Developments as a celebration of the local ship building industry and its prominent role in the history of Belfast. The bell has been put on display at the entrance of the hotel where visitors can read about the ship with newly discovered facts illustrated with rare images supplied by Paul Louden Brown/White Star Line Archive