“THE Titanic was unsinkable” - is it a myth which has grown up over the last 100 years, or a real claim which originated from the builders?

Harland and Wolff, who constructed Titanic in Belfast, insisted Titanic was never advertised as an unsinkable ship.

The company said the idea Titanic was “unsinkable'' came as the result of people's interpretations of newspaper and magazine articles of the time, and the claim grew after the disaster.

It is difficult to discover exactly where or when the term “unsinkable'' was first used.

However, an extract from a White Star Line publicity brochure produced in 1910 for the twin ships, Olympic and Titanic, said: “These two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable.''

The company stressed the words used only pointed to Titanic being designed to be unsinkable, not that it was claimed to be unsinkable.

Whatever the origin of the belief, there is no doubt, back in 1912, the public did believe Titanic to be unsinkable.

In a newspaper report, one passenger said: “I took passage on Titanic for I thought it would be a safe steamship and I had heard it could not sink.''

Another passenger wrote home: “We are changing ships and coming home in a new unsinkable boat.''

Ask anyone on any street in any city to name the world's most famous shipwreck, inevitably the reply will be: “Titanic.''

The story of this ship, together with her passengers and crew, has fascinated people for 100 years and will probably continue to enthral for another century.

Over the years there has been some salvage outside of the major hull portions, but most of the ship remains in its final resting place, 12,000 feet below sea level and over 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.