Model maker builds 8ft Titanic in his dining room
LANDLOCKED Bolton has a new nautical attraction that is leaving visitors speechless.
Martin Barton’s eight-foot model of The Titanic, which is on display in his Mackenzie Street home, is causing curious passers-by to ring on his bell asking to take a closer look.
“Only this morning a woman who was taking her young son to school came in to have a look. The little lad was so amazed that he was jumping up and down with excitement,” said Mr Barton, 79.
The original Titanic took 3,000 men two years to build but Mr Barton built his in just seven months, completing it earlier this week.
“I had to make my own plan based on a photograph of the ship. I didn’t build it to any sort of scale otherwise it would have taken me 20 years.”
During the project, Mr Barton said he came close to abandoning it twice.
“I got the measurements wrong, which was frustrating, and I had to repeat a whole week of work. It’s not been easy and I was working under a lot of pressure and tension.
“My wife, Irene, wanted me to give it up because she was worried it would make me ill.”
But Mr Barton persevered through the winter months, sawing, drilling, screwing and filing.
“I’ve always used my hands, first as an engineer and then as a motor mechanic,”he said.
His impressive model was built out of wood and steel, and is so detailed that it has a number of life belts and an anchor, all made from scratch.
“I first got interested in the Titanic when I learned the bandmaster, Wallace Harvey, came from Bolton,” Mr Barton explained.
Since then, he has acquired a number of books about the famous ship and enjoys researching it on the internet.
A test run saw him making a smaller version of the Titanic to work out the logistics.
“I thought that if I could build a small one then I could build a bigger one.”
Model making is not the only hobby Mr Barton has immersed himself in.
When he retired, he began a hobby of repairing long-case clocks.
The past-time became a passion for him and he spent 30 years working on grandfather clocks and the like. Today, the downstairs rooms of his houseare crammed with 15 repaired clocks, one dating from 1725, which he got from auctions.
“They all work now but I don’t wind them up because the noise of them chiming at the same time during the night would be unbearable.”
He began the new hobby of model making five years ago and his successes include a scale model of a Spitfire that flies, and a Lancaster Bomber.
“What appeals to me about model making is that it’s purely down to you. It gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I look at a completed project knowing I did it all.”
Mr Barton has decided to bow out at the top and says his Titanic is the last model he will make.
“I’m nearly 80 now so I think it’s time to pack it in.”
At the moment, the Titanic is in dry dock on the dining room table but, encouraged by the interest his model liner has generated, he plans to get in touch with Bolton Museum to see if it wants to provide a berth and exhibit it publicly.
“I actually feel quite emotional now I’ve finished it,” he says, as tears well up in his eyes. “I feel that it’s a tribute to all those lost souls who died in the disaster.”