April 19, 2023

EP. 315 — 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!


Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation.


Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at JonathanVanNess.com.


Find books from past Getting Curious guests at bookshop.org/shop/curiouswithjvn; we’ll be updating it soon with more releases!


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 TheQuinCat.com.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Meaghan Walker   JVN [00:00:00] [SINGING] You and I will always, no one. Oh! Oh my God, we’re recording! I’m so sorry, everyone. Welcome to Getting Curious. Let’s get into it. December 19, 1997. A day that would change culture forever! A young Leonardo DiCaprio transforms into Jack Dawson. His hair windswept, his clothing elevated, slop the satchel he carries to steerage. I wish he were carrying me instead. Actually, I’m more, like, into that other one. Like, the villain. He’s more my type. Like, more hairy chest. But anyway, I don’t want to get distracted. Dr. Meaghan Walker is the Ewart A. Pratt postdoctoral fellow at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She studies the clothing of working men who went to sea under British jurisdiction in the 1700s and 1800s. Meaghan, how are you? Also, I hear: word on the street is that you are literally in Newfoundland. It’s giving gusty. It’s giving—actually, I

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