White Star Line Letter Uncovered;Apologizes For Lost Wine

White Star Line letter to Berry Bros and Rudd, 16 April 1912
Photo: Tom Harrison/Solent News

According to Daily Mail, a recently uncovered letter from White Star Line apologizes for losing a wine delivery due to Titanic sinking. The later, dated 16 April 1912, apologizes to Berry Bros and Rudd for losing 69 cases of its wine.

Dear Sirs, referring to your shipment by this steamer, it is with great regret we have to inform you that the ‘Titanic’ foundered at 2.20am 15th instant, after colliding with an iceberg, and is a total loss. Details of shipment are shown at foot. Yours faithfully, for White Star Line.

A framed copy of the letter now hangs at Berry Bros and Rudd in London while the original is in a safe. A sales ledger from 1909-1912 confirms the wines were aboard Titanic and that a replacement shipment was sent out after the sinking.

Source: Titanic Shipping Firm’s Letter Apologising For Losing 69 Cases Of Wine When The Doomed Liner Hit An Iceberg Is Uncovered After More Than A Century (Daily Mail, 30 Sept 2018)
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6223913/Titanic-shipping-firms-letter-apologising-losing-69-cases-wine-uncovered.html

SS Duke of Lancaster-Zombie Ship?

Duke of Lancaster beached near Mostyn, North Wales, UK (2010)
Photo:Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK(via Wikipedia)

I last wrote about SS Duke of Lancaster back in 2014 when Douglas Wooley was contemplating its use for Titanic. Nothing came of that and a long series of legal challenges have continued with the former luxury ship beached near Mostyn Docks on River Dee. It still sits rusting away despite plans to use it as a floating leisure and retail complex. A new idea has emerged, reports iNews, of using the ship for “Zombie Experiences.”

Expected to open next year (no doubt in time for Halloween), the ship will be used to allow thrill seekers to roam about and of course encounter zombies in the process. Actors are being sought now to play certain roles, from zombies to doctors, as the ship will be overrun by zombies. It will apparently only be open weekends. Zombie Infection, the company behind it, promises it will bring new glory to this old ships.

“The impressive ocean liner has seen its fair share of disappointment, so it’s with great pleasure that after safety and logistic improvements, a lot of paint, love and affection, we are now able to bring this amazing venue to our international fan base and beyond. We want to assure the local and national population that we will, in partnership with the owners, take good care of her and bring her back to her well and truly back to her glory days.”

Source: Zombies are wanted to help turn abandoned ocean liner into a thrill-seekers’ paradise (iNews, 25 Sep 2018)
https://inews.co.uk/news/wales-ocean-liner-duke-of-lancaster-zombie-infection/


Report:Titanic Museum Bid Fails

Postcard of the Titanic found in a book donated to Books for Amnesty, 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol UK
Source: Bristol Post
Date: 20/07/2016
Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance
Reporter: Lewis Pennock
Copyright: Local World

The BBC is reporting that the bid by a consortium of museums (Royal Museums Greenwich,National Museums Northern Ireland,Titanic Belfast and Titanic Foundation Limited and others)has been outbid by a hedge fund consortium that bid $19.5 million for the collection. The head of the National Museums of Northern Ireland (NMNI) said that they had not given up hope of bringing the collection to Northern Ireland. While it is not clear whether they can raise additional money, they will stress that selling to them will keep the collection in public ownership. One Titanic expert, Professor John William Foster disagrees.

Foster states: “What happened to Titanic after she left Belfast is, in a sense, none of Belfast’s business,” he said. “As this exhibition circulates the globe, we get a lot of publicity from this, and it’s good publicity – not the publicity from the Troubles, so I’d be keen to see these artefacts keep going around the world.”

Source: Titanic: Museum bid to bring artefacts to Belfast fails (BBC,22 Sept 2018)
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-45606277


Autumn Equinox Today

For those who watch the calendar, today marks the official end of summer and the beginning of autumn with the equinox today. There are two equinoxes in the year: March and September. When these equinoxes occur the sun is directly on the equator, and the length of day and night is almost equal. In the Northern hemisphere, the September Equinox heralds autumn while in the South it is the beginning of spring.

For those of us in the North, it means a transition from summer to winter.  During this period  days start getting shorter and nights longer. Depending on where you live, you will likely have moderate warm days followed by long and cooler nights. Harvests of many crops often take place during the fall and in the old days you would make preparations to store food for the winter. Harvest festivals are very popular and in particular Halloween. Pumpkins begin appearing along with all kinds of Halloween decor culminating, of course, in All Hallows Eve (Halloween) on October 31.

English Autumn
George Hodan (publicdomainpictures.net)

Premiere Exhibitions Update:Titanic Artifact Sale and Bidders

The official notice of the upcoming sale of Titanic artifacts has been issued by the Equity Committee. According to the press release, the auction will take place on 11 Oct 2018 at 10 am. The entire Titanic collection that not only includes all the salvaged artifacts but the intellectual property along with all the digital footage that have been recorded will be auctioned off. According to the press release:

Currently, a consortium of hedge funds, including Apollo Global Management, LLC, Alta Fundamental Advisors, LLC, and PacBridge Capital Partners (HK) Ltd. have submitted an offer to buy the company’s assets for $19.5M, being treated as a bid floor. Unless a competing buyer steps forward, the company’s assets, including the entire Titanic collection, will be sold to this group for its $19.5M bid. As per the bidding procedures, a new buyer needs to submit, by October 5, 2018 at 4:00 p.m., a qualifying preliminary bid of at least $21.5M to enter the auction.

The consortium of museums and James Cameron had better get moving if they want to get control of the Titanic artifacts. Some have suggested the US and British governments could step in and do something. If they are planning anything, they are keeping very quiet about it.

The bid procedures can be read here: http://upshotservices.s3.amazonaws.com/files/497d5a77-fff2-49a9-98f0-c32110ea0410/bcc79c9f-4585-4c3e-9c76-6a86ab69c2e4.pdf

Source: Entire Titanic Artifact Collection To Be Sold At Auction, Opening bid $21.5M (PR Newswire,17 Sep 2018-Press Release)
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/entire-titanic-artifact-collection-to-be-sold-at-auction-opening-bid-21-5m-300713491.html

Sunday Musings

Titanic mural at Newtownards Road and Dee Street in Belfast, NI.
(Andy Welsh,http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallrevolution/68715920/)

With summer now in the rear view mirror, autumn is coming up soon. Many stores have already put out Halloween candy and a few costumes. One grocery store nearby has started making pumpkin pies and put out whole pumpkins for sale. But who puts out pumpkins in September? No one that I know of. A few commercials with Halloween themes are starting to appear as well. And of course we are starting to see just the usual beginnings of “true” ghost stories starting to appear.

Autumn is usually the transition from Summer towards Winter. The days get shorter and the nights longer. Temperatures start to drop in most areas but not always. The San Francisco Bay Area usually has its long awaited summer. Most of the year the temperatures along the coast are in the 60’s to low 70’s Fahrenheit and often cooler due to the marine layer. But in September and October, heat arrives from the interior. The wind shifts to off shore and temperatures usually soar sometimes with record breaking days. Usually it lasts just a few days at a stretch but it can be quite miserable with all the concrete radiating heat in downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Most homes do not have air conditioning. We wait anxiously for the fog to return and rejoice when it brings the cooling we so desperately want. But it creates spectacularly bright days which is great for sightseeing. Beaches that normally are only visited by people walking their dogs or surfers become popular spots. Just remember that sand can be hot as well!

Of course the big news for Titanic buffs is the bankruptcy of Premier Exhibitions and the impending sale of the artifacts. The best news would be for the collection to stay in the U.S. or Britain conserved by a museum (or group of them). Hard to see how it will play out but the big money is on the Chinese to purchase it. Of course they will swear up and down they will keep it all together and in the court’s jurisdiction. I suspect though that little by little it will go over to that new theme park in China where a Titanic replica is being built. What Clive Palmer could not pull off they are doing quite handily. From all accounts, it will be quite a sight to behold.

Going over to You Tube you will find all kinds of videos about Titanic. Some are trailers or clips from the various Titanic movies. Others purport to present shocking new evidence of how it really sank. Some of the more reliable ones are from reputable sources like the History Channel, BBC and others. Then sometimes you come across one that makes you stop and enjoy. My Heart Will Go On has become an international standard from that movie and for Celine Dion her most famous song. Here is a lovely rendition of that song on a violin.


Sunday Titanic News: Titanic Victim Watch Sold and Titanic Artifacts Auction

1.Pocket Watch From Titanic Victim Sold For $57,500 (Smithsonian,29 Aug 2018)
On April 15, 1912, Sinai Kantor was among the more than 1,500 people who lost their lives when the Titanic plunged into the North Atlantic. Recovery workers later pulled his body from the ocean and found a number of items that had been on his person when he died. One of those items, a pocket watch marked with Hebrew letters, recently sold at auction for $57,500, reports the Associated Press. John Miottel, owner of the private Miottel Museum in California, purchased the watch at auction. He already owns a number of timepieces that belonged to Titanic victims, including John Jacob Astor IV, the financier who helped build the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, and Oscar Woody, the Titanic’s U.S. Postal Clerk.

PR Newswire

2. Bankrupt Titanic Exhibitor Sets Biggest Sale of Ship Relics (Bloomberg, 30 Aug 2018)
This story, as predicted, is getting more heated now. To sum up: the current owner is bankrupt and wants to sell its most prized possession of all-the historic Titanic artifact collection. In the past getting anyone to put up the money was so difficult–due to constrictions imposed on the salvage award–that no one could afford purchasing it as one set. The article indicates three possible bidders:

1. Daoping Bao, has proposed a plan backed by a bevy of investment funds and Chinese businessmen who have bought $2 million of the company’s debt. Among Bao’s backers are Hong Kong-based PacBridge Capital Partners Ltd. and U.S.-based Apollo Global Management. Bao’s group is pledging to keep the collection intact and within reach of U.S. courts while planning to ramp up scientific and tourist expeditions to the wreck. Bao’s group raised their bid to $19.5 million

2. Titanic Branson
The owners of Titanic Branson and Titanic Pigeon Forge would like to purchase it and have made an offer in the past of $5-10 million that was turned down.

3. James Cameron & Museums: Cameron and a group of museums are offering $19.2 million.

As I suspected earlier, the Chinese are putting up a lot of money so they can move this to their theme park in China where a Titanic replica will be built. Make no mistake on this one, serious money is being put on the table. The downside is that once they are out of the U.S., there is no guarantee they will abide by the salvage award requirements. They claim they will keep it in U.S. but most are not sure they will do this. The bids from the Pigeon Forge and Cameron group is serious as well and both would likely keep the collection together.

And it is still possible that the bankruptcy court could conclude the easiest path is to auction off the pieces and pay off the debt rather than deal with the bids. The Bao group has put down a cash deposit to show they are serious. It is also possible that the government could step in to prevent its sale to Bao. That would leave the other two players. Certainly the Cameron group has museums behind him that know a lot about conserving artifacts. As for Pigeon Forge, they could end up getting it if the court is uncertain of the other two bids and wants to keep it right here in the U.S.


Today is Labor Day (U.S.)

Labor Day Postage Stamp (1956)
United States Post Office
Public Domain

Labor Day is a U.S. federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. It became a federal holiday in 1894 to celebrate workers and their achievements. It has also become the unofficial end of summer as schools have reopened and summer vacations have ended. As a federal holiday, all federal offices are closed as are banks and the stock market. All states celebrate it as well so state, county, and city offices are closed as well. Nearly all professional offices are closed and most construction workers have the day off as well. Retail and fast food employees do not get the day off except in areas where due to the holiday they get virtually no business.

Have a nice Labor Day everyone!