One of Lord Patel's forbears was William Stroudley, the Chief Engineer of the London & Brighton and South Coast railway. His Class B (0-4-2)engine No 217 , "Gladstone" was the first railway engine ever saved as a museum exhibit and is now the centrepiece of the York Railway Museum.
He introduced electric lighting on railways, the American made Westinghouse brakes (which Victorian engineers considered, because American, were inferior)the Brighton Belle and snow ploughs on the Highland Railway. He would not allow steam hammers to be used for riveting his boilers. He claimed excessive pressure led to plate cracking and fracturing - this was decades before non-destructive testing.
As a result his boilers lasted longer and expensive refits required less often and some even survived until nationalisation (he died in 1899).
Now a new book "What Really Sank the Titanic -New Forensic Discoveries " claims that the builders were under immense pressure, building 3 huge liners sumultaneously and they were forced to buy poor quality mterials including rivets. This they claim was a contributory factor in the ship sundering.(Amazon)
Timothy Foecke a metallurgist at the U.S. government's National Institute of Standards and Technology has been studying the Titanic for a decade and his co-author Jennifer Hooper McCarty, started researching the Titanic's rivets while working on her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in 1999.
refuting earlier and popular theries of brittle plates and using modern microscopic examination of recovered materials they provide a case that many of the rivets used in the Titanic's construction were of inferior material and many probably not optimally installed. The result was that, under stress from the glancing blow against the iceberg, too many rivets failed and allowed the seams between some of the hull plates to open, admitting water and causing the ship to sink before any help could arrive.
This coincides with yet another Titanic memorabilia sale (364 lots) this time by auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire, UK this weekend. Lots included a shoe box of items from Miss Lillan Asplund who was 5 years old when she boarded the White Star liner with her parents and four siblings in 1912, to emigrate from Sweden to Worcester, Massachusetts.
Lillian, her mother Selma and one of her brothers survived , but her father Carl and her other three brothers died.
She was one of the last remaining survivors of the disaster and died on 6 May 2006, aged 99, and left the collection to her second cousin from Massachusetts, US, who sent the items for sale which raised £100,000 (US$200,000) in total.
One item in the collection which sold for £31,000 (US$62,000) was a gold pocket watch said to be Carl's that stopped at the exact moment the great liner sank (?) . One of their (3rd class) tickets went for £33,000(U$66,000).