Virtual History for Lunch-SS Atlantic

June 17, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Hope McFaddin

Join us (VIRTUALLY!) to learn more about the SS Atlantic! Register NOW at the bottom of the page.

Of the Liverpool passenger steamship companies on the North Atlantic in 1873, the company that gave us the Titanic was the newest and the smallest, with only six ships. But, everybody was talking about the White Star Line and their revolutionary vessels.

Then they lost SS Atlantic. It looked like they might not survive.

It was the most infamous passenger ship disaster before the Titanic, and the biggest.

The Atlantic was travelling between Liverpool and New York with almost 1,000 people aboard, when the Captain decided to divert to Halifax for fuel. It wasn’t stormy. Everything was working. Qualified British officers were in control. The latest charts were on board. Of her captain, the commodore of the fleet wrote, “Men like him are very few and far between.” So, how did the SS Atlantic end up on the rocks on April 1, 1873 with almost 600 dead?

After years of painstaking research, Bob Chaulk has answered the questions that have dogged historians for 150 years as they tried to figure out why this leading-edge ship was wrecked.

It took the combined errors of three officers to doom the Atlantic. You will find yourself thinking, “No wonder they lost the Titanic!”

About the presenter: Bob Chaulk is the historian for the SS Atlantic Heritage Park in Terence Bay, Nova Scotia. He is an avid scuba diver and has done many dives on the wreck of the Atlantic. Living near where the wreck occurred has given Bob access, not only to official records about the event, but also to the folklore in the local communities. Bob has tracked down many descendants of the heroic people who rescued nearly 400 survivors.

Bob is the author of five books about the sea and ships, including SS Atlantic: The White Star Line’s First Disaster at Sea. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a historic seaport that hosted Britain’s Royal Navy during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. His latest book about the loss of the Atlantic is with the publishers and due out in the fall of 2021—delayed by the pandemic.


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