I recall some years ago when Wallace Hartley’s violin was found and the incredible amount of attention it generated. It truly was a great find. The actual violin that Titanic band leader Wallace Hartley played on the ship had been discovered. It was in a bag on his body and was later stored and nearly forgotten.
Of course there was a lot of skepticism, as there should be. There have been a lot of scams of fake Titanic memorabilia being passed off as genuine in the past. The violin was rigorously examined and tested to make sure it was authentic. It was and ultimately auctioned off (the winning bidder was anonymous). Here is an interesting story looking into the violin and its importance not only to him but his fiancee that sadly was never to be his wife.
Hartley’s body was pulled from the water 10 days after the Titanic sank. Strapped to the bandleader, the rescuers found a leather valise with the initials W.H.H. Inside was his violin case and treasured instrument, as well as some musical scores. For decades, the violin was lost to public knowledge. However, upon its resurfacing in 2006, the rest of the sad story of Hartley and his fiancée has been illuminated. Upon the violin’s emergence from a musician’s attic in 2006, the instrument was the subject of scrutiny by auction house Henry Aldridge & Son and Christian Tennyson-Ekeberg, author of Nearer, Our God, to Thee: The Biography of the Titanic Bandmaster. It was discovered that in July 1912, a grieved Robinson included a telegram receipt in her diary. It read, “I would be most grateful if you could convey my heartfelt thanks to all who have made possible the return of my late fiancé’s violin.” Somehow, in the process of identifying and repatriating the dead, the possessions of the late bandmaster were returned to England.
*Lion Heart Autographs will be putting up for auction a custom card filled out by a Titanic survivor aboard Carpathia. The custom card was filled out by first class passenger Caroline Bonnell. The card is estimated auction price is $8,000-$10,000. They are also auctioning off ten telegrams related to the sinking of the Titanic including two from evangelist “Billy” Sunday. The estimated auction price for the telegrams is $3,000-$5,000. The auction is being conducted online through 15 June 2016.
*Believe it or not but there is something called Tourism Oscars reports Belfast Telegraph. And for the first time since these awards have around for 23 years, an Irish attraction called Belfast Titanic could possibly win the award.
*Megan Ross, age 10, won a contest to design the 105th anniversary cake for SS Nomadic Belfast Live reports. Way to go Megan! She also won the opportunity for her class to visit the last remaining ship of the White Star Line.
*A celebrity recently, desiring for more attention or something, decided to be like Kate Winslet in James Cameron’s Titanic in baring her top in a selfie. Sorry but I do not see the guys racing to see this one.
*People visiting Titanic Belfast of late have been experiencing a very warm experience. Which apparently is bringing out a lot of people since it does not usually get near 70F/21C. Temperatures have soared up to 23C/74F. Usually travelers are advised to bring a sweater, a jacket for rain or cool nights and an umbrella. You can skip the sweater but keep a jacket and umbrella handy. Weather Underground reports that rain is expected in the next few days. A perfect opportunity to slip inside a small place for some good company and food as well.
Sorry folks not posting for a while. I have been quite busy on several projects. So lets get down to it.
1. Harland & Wolff never christened the ships they built but they did offer selected VIP’s the opportunity to watch the launch. Which is how Charlotte Irwin, a secretary for Harland & Wolff, got one to see Titanic’s launch. It was recently auctioned off by Henry Aldridge and Son (who ought to trademark the title “official auctioneer for Titanic memorabilia” considering how much they have auctioned off over the years)for £15,000 ($21,860). That figure exceeded the estimate of between £6,000-£10,000. A sextant owned by RMS Carpathia captain Arthur Rostron also was also auctioned off fetching £66,000 ($96,200).
Sources NI Secretary’s Souvenir Of Titanic Launch Day Sells For £15k At Auction(26 April 2016,Belfast Telegraph)
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ni-secretarys-souvenir-of-titanic-launch-day-sells-for-15k-at-auction-34655751.html Sextant Used In Titanic Rescue Sells For £66,000 At Auction(24 April 2016,BBC News)
2. A new book by Robert P Thompson delves into the Nazi propaganda Titanic movie. The movie was an attempt to take the story and show how a corrupt and decadent British government allowed the tragedy too happen. It was of course meant to show the superiority of the Nazi ideology over that of the British. The movie cost was extravagant and the resources it tied up caused problems as well. Add to it a director who insulted a war hero, arrested, and then was hung in his prison cell. The movie was a disaster and not shown in Germany during the war (although it was shown in occupied countries).
3. Wallace Hartley and all the musicians aboard Titanic were not employees of White Star Line. Although they were required to submit to Captain Smith’s authority,the worked for CW & FN, a music agency. According to a recently unearthed letter, Hartley complained that he and his fellow musicians were not given time off between voyages. After disembarking the Mauretania on 8 April 1912, the agency ordered that he and his fellow musicians would go to Titanic. Hartley notes in the letter to his parents that the agency had “rather vindictive spirit.” The letter is set to be auctioned off for £25,000.
Source:Titanic Band Leader Kept On Ship By ‘Vindictive’ Bosses(22 April 2016,Herald.ie)
(Note: Due to National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) policy to license hyperlinks outside of personal use, no hyperlink is provided.)
4. Recovery of Titanic victims was a grim affair by all accounts. Bodies were found were found weeks and even several months after the sinking. One such event was on 13 May 1912 when the RMS Oceanic found a collapsible boat containing three bodies. It was later identified as Collapsible Boat A, which was washed over the side as Titanic sank. 30 people climbed aboard though many passed away from the cold before being transferred to another lifeboat. Two of the bodies appeared to be fireman from the engine room. The third body was well dressed in a dinner jacket and identified as first class passenger Thomson Beattie. All three bodies were buried at sea and Beattie’s family was notified. At the family plot in Fergus, Ontario his name is engraved on a tombstone.
1. Gruesome Truth Behind The Tragic Victims Found On Titanic’s Last Lifeboat(19 April 2016,Daily Mirror)
2. Thomson Beattie Encyclopedia Titanica
The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the Hartley violin–owned by a private buyer who bought it auction in 2013–will be on display at two US museums in 2016. It will first go to Titanic Museum in Branson,Missouri from 7 Mar-29 May 2016 and then go to Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge from 5 Jun-14 Aug 2016. The violin has not been on display since its purchase. Auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son represent the owner.
1. Looking through old engineering journals that have accounts of Titanic’s construction can sometimes be interesting as Jamie Condliffe at Gizmondo learned. Bill Hammack reviews what he found when he looked through The Engineer between 1909 and 1911.
Source:Fascinating Engineering Details of the Titanic From a 1909 Journal (11 Feb 2015,Gizmodo)
2. Looking through old footage in The Netherlands found something surprising for doctoral student Jeff Nichols at University of Illinois at Chicago. He found rare news clips in Dutch newsreels that showed the SS Eastland disaster of 1915 in the Chicago river. The SS Eastland was one of five boats that was to take Western Electric workers and their families to a park in Michigan City, Indiana. It had 2,5oo people aboard when it turned on its side while docked killed 844 people. The film clips shows a rescue attempt and later an attempt to right the ship. The film clips are now available at Eastlanddisaster.org.
Source: Chicago’s Titanic: Lost Footage Of 100-Year-Old Ship Disaster Discovered(10 Feb 2015,The Guardian)
1. The Citizen reports that the Lancashire Titanic Museum now has opened at its new location in Eccleston, UK. The museum first started in Colne where Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley had been born and then moved to Samlesbury Hall last year. However it could not stay there due to other commitments of that hall. The exhibition is now up and running according to its curator Nigel Hampson. Further information can be found at their website.
Source:Lancashire ‘Titanic’ Museum Finds New HQ(22 Sep 2014,The Citizen)
2. Sitting out on a potato field in Sagaponack, New York is a building that was once was a Marconi wireless station that likely received messages about Titanic in 1912. It once stood near the beach but was moved sixty years ago to be used as storage. Now the current owner of the land plans to sell the three acres it sits on. According to Julie Green of the local Bridgehampton Historical Society, the Sagaponack Marconi station was likely one of the first to learn of Titanic sinking. The station used call letters MPA according to messages from Carpathia. The Sagaponack station was opened in 1902, the first on Long Island. However it was closed in 1915 due to diminishing traffic.
Source:A Piece Of Titanic History Sits On A Potato Field In Sagaponack(22 Sep 2014,27east.com)
1. As reported earlier, a Chinese energy company has announced construction of a full scale Titanic replica. This replica will be permanently docked on the Qi River and will simulate Titanic’s sinking. It is due for completion in 2016, the year that Clive Palmer also plans to have his Titanic replica ready to go. Wuchang Shipbuilding has been contracted to build the Titanic replica but so far Clive Palmer has not signed any formal construction with CSC Jinling. And News.Com.Au reports that industry experts doubt Clive Palmer’s Titanic will ever be built. Maritime historian and cruise critic Reuben Groossens states:
“The shipping world in general all doubts that this will work,” said Mr Groossens. Every corner of the industry I’ve spoken to — the US, UK, France — they all thought exactly the same. People are not that keen at riding in third class, in original conditions as they were. And he’s doing the third class cabins identical to what they were — horrible. He thinks they (passengers) will want to have the experience of the poor folk and will pay huge money. It won’t work on a long-term basis … because there aren’t the passengers.”
As surprising as it sounds, it is likely the Chinese full scale replica will likely be built first. They put up the money, contracts have been signed. And what has Palmer done? Well we have had lots of media buzz, celebrity events, and then it got very quiet. Yes there have been positive signs with lots of preliminary work being undertaken with outfitters, proof of concept trials etc. Yet and most importantly no contract to actually build the ship has been done. Palmer might be having problems negotiating with the Chinese shipyard and some reports indicate reticence on their part in building such a ship. Or it might be it will be built elsewhere. Then again he might have realized that making money off this ship will be more difficult than first thought.
The novelty of going on Titanic II will appeal to a lot of people,but what is his market? Titanic enthusiasts would certainly be interested but it may be too expensive for a lot of them. And who really, except for perhaps a night, wants to experience how third class/steerage were crammed together having to share toilets? My gut reaction was the market he was targeting is wealthy Asians and Arabs (like in Brunei). How else does one explain why they are building a Titanic themed resort in Tinian? Perhaps Palmer misread the Chinese thinking they would be interested. Perhaps they are but many who have done business in China have run into roadblocks with bureaucracy and with the leaders in Beijing.
Hartley New Year Card Sought By Museum
2. Nigel Hampson, curator of the Lancashire Titanic Museum, is trying to raise £5,000 by August to purchase a Happy New Year card signed by Wallace Hartley. The card is already on loan to the museum right now and its owner has indicated he intends to put it up for auction but the museum has first refusal rights on it. Hampson says at auction he could fetch a lot more than £5,000 but that owner wants to keep the card local. Hampson is hoping to find a business willing to sponsor or perhaps a group to fundraise to keep it on public display. The card is currently on display until August.
Source:Titanic Museum In Bid To Buy Card Signed By Colne Bandleader Wallace Hartley(5 May 2014,Lancashire Telegraph)
3. Insurance News Made As Original Titanic Policy Sells For $25,000 Atlantic Mutual was not the only insurer that was helping to cover the risk associated with the Titanic. The remainder was split among an insurance company syndicate which was led by the London based Prudential Insurance Company. On the page that was just sold in New York, there was an addendum written by hand that pointed out that the policy was “to include the trip from Belfast to Southampton sailing on or after March 30th 1912…and the risk of trials on said trip, if any.” The insurance news making document holds a signature, as well as the date of March 27, 1912.
Source:Insurance News Made As Original Titanic Policy Sells For $25,000(6 May 2014,LIN News)
3. Shipwreck Yields Bonanza of Gold Bars & Coins Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., a company that specializes in deep-ocean exploration, retrieved five gold bars and two gold coins — one from 1850 that was minted in Philadelphia, and the other from 1857 that was minted in San Francisco — from the sunken ship known as the SS Central America. The precious artifacts were recovered during a reconnaissance dive to the shipwreck site on April 15. Odyssey Marine Exploration researchers are in the process of documenting the underwater site, and they eventually plan to conduct a full archaeological excavation of the shipwreck, according to company officials.
Source:Shipwreck Yields Bonanza of Gold Bars & Coins(6 May 2014,Discovery News (from Livescience)