Wednesday Titanic News: Titanic Band, Recreating Titanic Meal, and Conspiracy Theories

Austin, Jeannie. “Wallace Hartley and the Band of the Titanic. They Played on as the Ship Sank Beneath? Them.” Pinterest, 31 Mar. 2019, www.pinterest.com/pin/16114511153415928.

One of the lingering images of Titanic is of the band. We know that they were on the deck of the ship playing music as people got in the lifeboats. There is some disagreement over whether they actually sang or played Nearer My God to Thee or a tune that was similar. However, no one disputes they were playing music and that they were heroes for doing it. None of them survived and only the band leader, Wallace Hartley, had his body returned. With him was his violin, which was auctioned off some years back to a collector.

Over at Classical Music, they explore the band and its history. One important note to remember, because it shocked many later, was that the band was not actually employed by White Star. They were hired for that sailing through an agent, who also owned some of their items they had with them. Since they were not employees, their surviving families could not seek any compensation from White Star. Ironically the company that they worked for actually sent notices to the families demanding compensation for company items lost in the sinking. Needless to say, the press ran with it causing lots of anger against the company.

At any rate, this story is worth a read as it reminds us of this band and its place in Titanic lore.

Classical-Music.com, Feb 2024. Classical Musicians of the Titanic: The Story of the Doomed Ship’s Musical Heroes. www.classical-music.com/articles/titanic-band.

Thanks in large part to the crass insistence of the ship’s owner, White Star Line, that cargo rate be paid for transporting recovered bodies back across the Atlantic, Titanic bandmaster Hartley was the sole victim of the disaster to be returned to the UK. The hearse bearing his rosewood casket wound a 59-mile mourner-lined journey from Liverpool docks to the Bethel Chapel in Colne, Hartley’s home town, where the funeral service took place. The crowd in and around the chapel was estimated at 40,000, half as much again as the town’s population.

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Titanic Lunch Menu 14 April 1912
Photo: AP

One item that people comment on is how much food people ate during the Edwardian Era. Mostly this was at dinner when you might have 7 or 8 courses and sometimes a lot more. And if you ate in First or Second class, you would be assured your meals would be exquisite. Dinner was a very formal affair in those classes, so you always dressed up (to show up in casual clothes would be unheard of) for it. And you be served an elegant meal that might be up to 12 courses served over a period of hours. You didn’t just eat. You socialized with everyone at your table and when you have such a high caliber group of people, no doubt the conversation was interesting at times.

Each year you see recreations of what was served on Titanic. This year Williamsburg Families will be holding a full 12 course meal on April 12, 2024. This looks to be quite the recreation as the menu looks like what Edwardians would have had on Titanic. I am not shilling for them, and it is not cheap either at $265 per person. So if you have the money, time, and will be near Williamsburg in Pennsylvania, it might be worth it.

“Enjoy the Last 1st Class 12 Course Meal on the R.M.S. Titanic Reimagined by the Chefs at the Rockefeller Room – April 12, 2024.” Williamsburg Families, 6 Feb. 2024, www.williamsburgfamilies.com/rms-titanic-12-course-meal-at-williamsburg-inn.

“In honor of the Titanic and it’s world class Hospitality Brigade of French train chefs and service team, the Rockefeller Room’s Chefs and Restaurant staff bring a tantalizing recreation with a bit of reimagination of the featured last meal served to the First-Class passengers the evening before the iceberg created one of the most impactful moments in history. Prepare as we call you aboard for a Rockefeller Room exclusive twelve-course meal not soon to be forgotten.”

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Art on the Titanic is one of those smaller stories, yet important. Some priceless works of art such as a jeweled edition of The Rubyiat were lost when it sank. Other things did to and over at the Artlyst, the go over the various things that were lost and still sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic.

Artlyst, 3 Feb 2024. “The Lost Art and Priceless Chattels Aboard the Titanic.” artlyst.com/features/the-lost-art-and-priceless-chattels-aboard-the-titanic.

The tragedy of the Titanic not only claimed lives but also devoured treasures of immeasurable worth. Among the lost artefacts, a jeweled edition of The Rubaiyat, adorned with 1,500 precious stones set in gold, is a testament to human opulence and artistic craftsmanship. Sold for a princely sum of $1,900, this luxurious tome was destined for an American buyer, its journey abruptly halted by fate’s cruel hand.

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There are all kinds of conspiracy theories from the wild to the truly bizarre about Titanic. You have supernatural ones (like the mummy curse), switched ship theories, submarine attack, the Illuminati and more. Perhaps the only ones yet to be explored are ones involving aliens or Atlantis. For me, I subscribe to the theory that Marvin the Martian was experimenting with a new weapon and Titanic got in the way. Anyway, over at Mental Floss they took a look at ten of the most popular ones. They have all been debunked but they still persist out there.

10 Wild Conspiracy Theories About the Sinking of the ‘Titanic,’ Explained.” Mental Floss, 2 Feb. 2024, www.mentalfloss.com/posts/titanic-conspiracy-theories.

Conspiracy theories often emerge in the wake of tragic events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death of Princess Diana. It’s no surprise, then, that the most famous shipwreck in history—the sinking of the RMS Titanic on its first voyage in 1912, in which an estimated 1500 people died—has its fair share of conspiracy theories. Here are 10 theories that dispute the widely accepted facts about the Titanic tragedy.

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