As for the two pennies, they were never spent and have remained in the family ever since.
While his brother, Tommy Junior, followed his father into Harland & Wolff, working as a cabinet maker, Susie says that Ruddick chose a very different life. “He became a successful journalist and writer. One of his plays was performed at Belfast’s Grand Opera House when he was just 18, and he wrote for all the major Northern Irish newspapers.”
Susie never got to meet her grandfather, however, as Ruddick died in 1952 at the age of 46.
Susie worked as a broadcaster for the BBC and UTV, specialising in news, until Titanic started to play a bigger part in her life. “In the past Belfast people didn’t talk about Titanic. But as I got older my dad got me interested, making me watch ‘A Night to Remember’ (the 1958 film about Titanic). The personal connection began to mean something to me.”
With the 1997 film ‘Titanic’ becoming the world’s highest grossing film and the approach of the ship’s centenary, Susie decided to leave her media career and take the plunge as a Titanic guide and lecturer.
The rise of interest in Titanic coincided with a dramatic re-development of Queen’s Island, where Harland & Wolff are based. Once like a city within a city, with up to 30,000 workers arriving at ‘the yard’ each morning, it is now a homage to Titanic and her fellow giants of the sea.