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Titanic’s first class restaurant menu to go on sale

A menu from the Titanic’s first-class restaurant which survived the sinking in a passenger’s coat pocket is expected to fetch £70,000 at auction.

It was owned by Elise Lurette, who was one of about 700 people who survived after the passenger liner hit an iceberg in April 1912.

She was working as a maid for a family travelling on the ship when it sank.

The document will go under the hammer at Henry Aldridge and Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire, on 18 October.

Items on the menu, which is dated 12 April, included mutton chops, Melton Mowbray pie and tapioca pudding.

A deck plan used by French-born Ms Lurette to help find her way to a lifeboat on the ill-fated ship, which sank on its maiden voyage, killing about 1,500 people, is also included in the sale.

Titanic menu

Titanic menu

The plan was given only to first-class passengers and Ms Lurette wrote on it ‘Depart le 10 Avril’ and marked it with a cross to indicate the location of her cabin.

It is expected to sell for £16,000.

Ms Lurette kept the documents and left them to her family when she died the year after the disaster aged 60.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “To have a menu, especially one from lunch on 12 April that survived the sinking in Ms Lurette’s coat pocket, alongside a first-class deck plan, which was used on the Titanic and has remained in the family for over a century, is unheard of.

Titanic launch ticket

Titanic launch ticket

“Elise was rescued in lifeboat number six and was severely traumatised by her experiences, recalling the screams of those in the water and their attempts to climb into the lifeboat.”

Also being sold is a postcard Ms Lurette sent to her nephew from the Titanic when it stopped off at Queenstown in Ireland, which is expected to sell for £6,000.

And a letter written by the Titanic’s chief engineer, Joseph Bell, to his son, which describes a near-miss the ship had as it left Southampton, is estimated to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.

In March 2012, a menu of the last meal served to first class passengers on board the Titanic sold for £76,000 by the same auctioneers.

In November the same year, a first class lunch menu from the Titanic sold for £64,000.

Titanic crew member details available online

The records of the doomed Titanic captain and his crew are among details of more than a million seamen which have been published online.

Captain Edward Smith was chosen to captain the Titanic, which had been labelled practically unsinkable, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.

Plenty has been written about his role on the voyage, with historians in disagreement over his final moments on the ship.

Now, people will have the chance to explore his career as a captain at sea before the sinking of the Titanic in the Atlantic in the early hours of April 15 1912, where he died along with more than 1,500 people.

Born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in 1850, Captain Smith joined the White Star Shipping Line in 1880 and served aboard the company’s freight liners around the world.

In 1901, he was captain of the SS Majestic when he and his crew transported troops to Cape Colony during the Boer War for which he was awarded a special Transport Medal.

However, there were warning signs of what was to come later when the white-whiskered skipper was captaining the RMS Olympic when she collided with British warship HMS Hawke in 1911.

Following the collision, the ship’s propeller was badly damaged and the vessel had to be returned to port.

Despite the collision, Captain Smith was chosen to captain the Titanic on her voyage from Southampton to New York City.

Historians dispute his final moments before the ship sunk.

What is known is that Captain Smith was awoken about 20 minutes before midnight on April 14 after the ship hit an iceberg.

Some historians have said that Smith panicked, isolating himself on the bridge or locking himself away in his quarters while the crisis unfolded around him.

He has also been criticised for allowing lifeboats to leave the ship only partially filled.

But there are also tales of his behaviour during the evacuation which cast him in a more favourable light.

Aside from tales of helping children into lifeboats, it is believed he was last seen in the bridge area having given the final order to abandon ship, before he died at the helm.

The Titanic

The Titanic

He appears to have made no attempt to save himself.

As well as Captain Smith’s records, the details of all seamen from first officers to stockers are recorded in the Liverpool Crew Lists 1861-1919 collection.

The Titanic officers

The Titanic officers

The Titanic was designed in Liverpool but the city never enjoyed the sight of it steaming up the Mersey.

About 90 members of the crew came from the city, including the two lookouts who spotted the iceberg.

It details the names of every crew member who worked on vessels registered to the Port of Liverpool, which was once one of the biggest ports in the world.

In total, it records 912 ships with each crew member’s name, age, birthplace, residence and past maritime experience, and even remarks on their general behaviour.

There are also details on each list saying whether crew members were discharged, deserted or died at sea.

The crew of the RMS Scotia, a famous mid-Victorian passenger liner which won the Blue Riband for breaking the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing in 1863, is also in the collection.

Miriam Silverman, Senior UK Content Manager from Ancestry which has published the records online, said: ‘From ship captains to their crew, this collection sheds light on a period in which the port of Liverpool was a global transport hub.

‘With more than a million maritime records now available online at Ancestry it will also be of huge significance for anybody looking to trace their seafaring ancestors back to Liverpool at this time.’

To few the records visit: http://www.ancestry.co.uk/