Start Date: 25 January 2017
End Date: 26 June 2017
Time: Daily 10am – 5.30pm
Venue: Tower Museum
Address: Tower Museum Union Hall Place Derry~Londonderry BT48 6LU
Admission: Adult £4.00
Family £9.00 (2 adults & 3 children)
Learning group rate £1.50
Group rate (groups 15+) £2.00
Telephone: 028 7137 2411
SS Laurentic was built in Belfast in 1907 and met its end 10 years later in Lough Swilly with the loss of hundreds of lives and other precious cargo.
Originally purposed as one of the fastest and most luxurious passenger ships of its time, the Laurentic transported people between Liverpool and Quebec in Canada. Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Laurentic was converted to an Armed Merchant Ship and used by the Royal Navy to carry troops, ammunitions and finally, gold.
In January 1917, the Laurentic was bound for Canada carrying 43 tonnes of gold ingots, worth around £250 million today. Following a short stopover at Buncrana, the ship set sail from Lough Swilly, County Donegal, on 25th January and sank that night after hitting a German mine at the mouth of the lough.
Over 350 passengers and crew lost their lives and the SS Laurentic came to rest 130 feet beneath the ocean. The impact of the sinking was felt across the north west as bodies washed up on shore for days afterwards. The survivors, meanwhile, were cared for at a reception in The Guildhall here in Derry~Londonderry.
3,211 gold bars were also lost with the sinking, disappearing into the depths of the Atlantic. The quest to find that gold has interested and intrigued generations of divers, researchers, historians and maritime enthusiasts over the last 100 years.
This exhibition, featuring original photographs and artefacts from the ship, highlights the impact of a global event on the lives of local people and its continuing legacy today.