SS Olympic was the sister ship of Titanic, and at the time of her launch on 20 October 1910 she was the largest vessel ever built.
This film from Kineto company captures the sheer scale of endeavour involved in building the Olympic-class ships - the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast had to be upgraded to accommodate Olympic and her sister ships, Titanic and Brittanic. The White Star company, for whom these three ships were built, intended them to surpass, in size and luxury, the largest ships of their chief rival Cunard, Lusitania and Mauretania.
Immediately following the launch ceremony, the film negative was sent from Belfast to London where it arrived at 8am the following morning. It was developed, printed and released in cinemas later in the same day - a feat of speediness commented on admiringly by the film trade press at the time.
Olympic's maiden voyage was to New York in 1911 and, unlike both her sisters, she served a long and illustrious career until 1935, both as a liner and as a troopship during World War I, when she earned the nickname 'Old Reliable'. Olympic was broken up in Jarrow in 1935 - providing much-needed work there during the Depression - and her fittings auctioned.