GETTING CURIOUS | Why Is The Titanic So Iconic? with Dr. Meaghan Walker


The RMS Titanic sank 111 years ago this week. It may have been on its maiden voyage, but this trip was the culmination of more than 200 years of maritime travel and innovation. This week, Dr. Meaghan Walker joins us to explore British maritime history in the lead-up to this historic event. And just like an 18th century ship would have zig-zagged towards its destination, this episode is hitting all the angles: we’re talking kidnappings, steerage, slop clothes (the original fast fashion!), and why men’s calves were considered their sexiest body part in the 1700s.

Meaghan Walker is the Ewart A. Pratt Postdoc at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, where she researches the clothing of British “working men who got wet.” She has done work on the Royal Navy and British merchant shipping, but her current project focuses on the clothing purchases of the residents of the fishing outport of Bonavista, Newfoundland, using records at Memorial’s Maritime History Archive.

You can follow Dr. Walker on Twitter @slopclothes!

Curious to see the two images we discuss in the episode? Check them out here:

J. Cooke and Samuel Collings. “Monmouth Street,” Print, 1789. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT., 789.06.09.01.

Rudolf Ackermann, “The Sailor and the Banker, or The Firm in Danger,” Print, 1799. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, PAF3851.

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Transcripts for each episode are available at

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Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our editor is Andrew Carson. Production support from Julie Carrillo, Chris McClure, and Erin McKeon.Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness