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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 08:04 GMT
Moves to bail out pump house
The Thompson Dock Pump House
The Pump House is in need of repair
A building which played a vital role in the construction of the Titanic is being neglected to the point that it could fall down, campaigners claim.

The massive pump-house complex is located beside Thompson Dock in Belfast, where the Titanic was built.

It is now owned by the Northern Ireland Science Park, who said they were committed to protecting it.

They want it to become a centrepiece of the Titanic Quarter which celebrates Belfast's maritime heritage.

Gravestone unattended

The pump house was built about a century ago to help with the construction of Olympic class liners.

The second of those to be built was the Titanic, one of the most famous ships in the world, which sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

The job of the pump house was to pump water in and out of Thompson Dock.

In its day the equipment was state-of-the-art and the envy of the world, but now the building is structurally dangerous and in need of urgent repair.

"It just speaks for the whole area that is being forgotten about," said Charlie Warmington from Lagan Legacy.

"It is almost like a gravestone that has been unattended. It has been left there, the vandals are coming in.

Pump House equipment
In its day the pump house equipment was state-of-the-art

"It is very sad for the tens of thousands of people who worked down here. This place built something like 10% of the maritime war effort."

He said the pump house was one of the few little bits of maritime history that was left.

The Northern Ireland Science Park, which was set up to regenerate the docks area, said it was committed to saving the building and the entire complex.

Every month specialist engineers are paid to drain Thompson Dock of sea and rain water.

The future of the pump house is tied up in a wider project to determine how Belfast should celebrate its Titanic legacy.

Industrial heritage

Consultants have been appointed to draw up plans.

Professor Norman Apsley from the Northern Ireland Science Park said the pump house had become an eyesore.

He said: "We want rapidly to get that improved. Everyone in the city, everyone in government that we talked to, wants to get that done.

"But we want to do the right thing and the consultancy will hopefully produce the right answer to let us celebrate both the industrial heritage and the Titanic brand for Belfast."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
BBC NI's Shane Glynn reports
"The building has a unique place in Belfast's shipbuilding history."



SEE ALSO:
Belfast marks Titanic anniversary
15 Apr 04 |  Northern Ireland
Titanic 'comes home' to Belfast
08 Apr 04 |  Northern Ireland
City to celebrate Titantic story
25 Feb 04 |  Northern Ireland


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