Published: 28th April 2016

Titanic Descendant celebrates 100th Birthday

Eleanor Thompson pictured with her great grandson as they look at picture of her father Ambrose Willis

On Wednesday 27th  April, Eleanor Thompson, whose father was Chief Interior Draftsman for RMS Titanic and travelled on board as part of the Guarantee Group from Belfast to Southampton, visited Titanic Belfast ahead of her 100th birthday celebrations which are set to be held at the iconic venue this weekend.

The 100 year old’s father, Ambrose Willis, the man behind Titanic’s beautiful carved wooden fireplaces and paneling, features in one of the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience’s artefacts – a paybook of Harland and Wolff employees, which helps tell the story of not only Titanic but the city and people that built her.

The artefact with her father’s signature will take pride of place at Eleanor’s birthday party, which will see visitors travel from as far as Australia to take part in the milestone celebration.

Eleanor Thompson, recalled, “There is no doubt that my father loved his job and was very proud of the work he did. All the furniture for RMS Titanic was built in what we called ‘The Yard’ here in Belfast and that’s what my father oversaw! When I watch James Cameron’s TITANIC or visit Titanic Belfast – I look out for the woodwork, including the famous staircase, fireplaces and panelling as I know that’s what my father worked on! He used to come home smelling of varnish and paint. He even travelled on board Titanic to South Hampton but had to return to Belfast as Olympic, her sister ship was on the stocks. He was fortunate he had to return – or otherwise I may not have been born in 1916 and wouldn’t be celebrating my 100th birthday at Titanic Belfast this weekend!”