Tag Archives: mahogany linen chest from Brittanic

Brittanic Gets No Respect

Mention that you have authentic Titanic memorabilia and people are interested. If instead Brittanic chestit comes from its sister ship Brittanic, expect a yawn. That is what happened to Richard McLaughlin, a pub owner in Killinchy, Northern Ireland, when he discovered a mahogany linen chest from Brittanic. It had been in the family for 70 years. How it got into the family is an interesting tale according to Belfast Telegraph. His grandfather, William Walsh, was wounded during the Gallipoli campaign in 1916 and evacuated to Brittanic, which was operating as a hospital ship. All the furniture had been stripped so he did not get the chest then. It came later when he married his wife.

His wife bought the linen cabinet but where she bought it from is a mystery. However when the ship went down in 1916 (likely a mine), its furniture was likely reused or sold by White Star. And until the temporary top was removed recently by McLaughlin, apparently his grandfather had no idea it was from Brittanic (or at least there is no indication he knew this).  McLaughlin contacted the Transport Museum to see if the would be interested in the piece; they were not. So he decided to auction it off. Christies said the best place for it to be sold would be New York (surprising since Henry Aldridge usually has a corner on these things). So off to New York went the chest and it waits to be auctioned off. Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy has put the auction on hold for now but McLaughlin is hopeful it will find a home in the U.S. He is disappointed that no one at home was interested in taking the piece.

But it seems many are focused on Titanic forgetting the sister ships Olympic and Brittanic. Too bad because once they get up to speed and realize the importance of having them in the Titanic/White Star collection it will be too late.

Source: Belfast Telegraph, Pieces Of Harland And Wolff History From The Brittanic To Go Under Hammer In New York, 16 Nov 2012