Loss of the Titanic - Poole's Myriorama

Work in Progress - 2/3/2022

The only positive thing that has come from this pandemic (for me) is that it has resulted in more time to research moving panoramas.  I have wanted to create this page about the Poole's and their Loss of the Titanic moving panorama show for years. This will take a while.  Check back in a couple months!

Sue Truman

And as the smart ship grew

In stature, grace, and hue,

In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

-Thomas Hardy


"Untergang der Titanic", as conceived by Willy Stöwer, 1912

On April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from England to New York City, the HRM Titanic hit an iceberg and sunk.  Of the 2,224 lives aboard, over 1,500 died, making it one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history. This major event inspired many artistic endeavors and one of the most elaborate was Poole's The Loss of the Titanic.

Moving panorama shows had long lost their popularity by 1912, but this was too good to pass up.  It was the most popular story of the day.  The landscape ocean scene lent itself to a moving panorama scroll.  It also had opportunities for special effects, dramatic narration and song. It had it all.  Furthermore, there was no film footage or photos of the tragedy. The Poole brothers lost no time in creating a moving panorama, or what they called a Myriorama. 

The Poole Family

Description of the 1912 Show in Edinburgh, Scotland

The book was published in 1987.

When J.I.M. Stewart (Oxford scholar and celebrated mystery writer) was six years old, he attended The Loss of the Titanic in 1912 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He writes about the experience in his book Myself and Michael Innes: A Memoir. Here is a short except from the book.

It follows too that the doomed liner must appear on our right.  We wait for it, already in agonizing suspence. Its bow appears - just. In fact, a shade hesitently in the wings. It advances again, a blaze of minute lights near where the sky meets the ocean. Ever so slowly, the iceberg is drifting east. It is like an enormous twirl of confectioner's sugar on top of a cake, but faintly green and therefore hugely sinister.

These two objects duly collide. There is a dreadful sound - I don't know how contrived - of impregnable steel punctured and ripped open as might be a tin of sardines.

One small boy is momentarily conscious of nothing but a hideous clutching in his reins. The iceberg disengages itself and glides smoothly (or almost smoothly) on. Most of the lights on the Titanic have been extinguihed. The Titanic tilt slowly and then slowly disappears - the stern first or the bow first: I don't remember - beneath that peaceful ocean.

The show made quite an impression! J.I.M. Stewart goes on to write that he must have been one of many Edinburgh contemporaries who, mute before Mr. Poole's spectacle, are haunted by it still.

Special Effects

Poole's Myriorama - The Loss of the Titanic

From the collection of Professor Erkki Huhtamo, a souvenir from one of their shows. It says "PENCIL A DATE IN FOR POOLE'S MYRIORAMA. Photo by Sue Truman.

Thanks and Gratitude

The Titanic, photo from The Library of Congress.