Titanic menu and other items go on sale

A lunch menu for the first class restaurant on board Titanic, which offered guests the likes of pea soup and grilled mutton chops, is set to go on sale as part of a £100,000 archive.

Elise Lurette had the menu in the pocket of her overcoat when she stepped off the doomed ship before it sank with the loss of 1,522 lives.

The list of lunch items in Titanic’s luxurious restaurant was dated April 12, 1912 – two days before the ship struck an iceberg.

She was also carrying a deck plan of the Titanic that helped her get to the lifeboats.

The fold-up layout of Titanic was only given to first class passengers and helped them navigate the huge ship.

Elise, a French maid for the wealthy Spencer family, wrote on it ‘Depart le 10 Avril’ and marked the paper plan with a cross to highlight where her cabin was.

Hers is only one of three such plans known to be in existence and is valued at £18,000.

The menu she was carrying is said to be one of kind and showed that the wealthy passengers feasted on mutton chops, roast beef, Melton Mowbray pie, lamb and mint sauce, ox tongue, tapioca pudding and greengage tart for the Friday afternoon lunch.

Elise had crossed off Welsh rarebit and Omer Pacha egg as they had been taken off the menu for that day.

Although other menus from the Titanic have come to light before, this is believed to be the first for lunch on April 12. It is tipped to sell for £70,000.

A third document that makes up the archive is a fine postcard the maid sent to her nephew from the Titanic when it stopped off at Queenstown, Ireland.

Despite being used to the extravagant and opulent lifestyle of her employers, Elise wrote that the levels of luxury and comfort on the liner were ‘unknown to her until this day.’

The postcard, that has a picture of the liner on the front, is tipped to sell for £6,000.

Elise survived the disaster and sat alongside her employer, Marie Spencer, Molly Brown, an American passenger who was depicted in the 1997 movie Titanic, and lookout Frederick Fleet, in lifeboat number six.

She kept hold of the documents and passed them on to her family who are now selling them for the first time.

Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire, is selling the three items.

He said: ‘This is a quite remarkable archive of Titanic-related documents that has never come to public attention before as it has been in the family of Elise Lurette all this time.

‘As far as we are aware the lunch menu is the only one for April 12 that is still in existence.

Titanic menu
Titanic menu

‘There are a few for dinner on April 14 – the night of the disaster – but that is understandable as they would have been in the pockets of coats and dinner jackets of survivors.

‘On the night of the sinking, after a member of the ships’ crew knocked on Elise’s cabin she put a coat on over her nightdress.

‘In that coat were the menu and deck plan which would have helped her find her way to the top deck where the lifeboats were being lowered.

‘You can understand her having the plan on her to get to safety as quickly as possible but it is just pure luck that Elise Lurette still had the lunch menu from two days before.

‘The deck plan folds up to 10ins by 3ins and is long and thin. It was her map for getting around the huge ship and would have been invaluable to her as she spoke little English.

‘She marked an X next to her cabin, stateroom B76 and wrote ‘Depart le 10 Avril’ on the front cover together with the figures ‘787.50’ and ‘1197.50’, possibly the cost of the cabins that Elise and the Spencer family booked.

The Titanic
The Titanic

‘Postcards written onboard Titanic aren’t rare but this one gives us an interesting snapshot of the levels of luxury on it.

‘This is a woman who worked for an extremely wealthy couple who owned their own castle on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, yet she states in her card that she has never seen such splendour up until stepping on board Titanic.’

Elise was aged 59 at the time of the disaster and died the next year. Her employer, William Spencer, perished in the sinking.

He was not the only multi-millionaire to die on Titanic. Isador Strauss, John Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim were unable to get a place on the lifeboats despite their wealth.

What was for lunch on the Titanic?

The menu Elise Lurette was carrying is said to be one of kind and showed that the wealthy passengers feasted on the finest offerings of the day.

It is dated April 12, 1912 – two days before the ship struck an iceberg – and showed what First Class guests could look forward to in the ship’s luxury restaurant.

Luncheon included a choice of Consomme Paysanne (a form of vegitable soup) along with pea soup, fillets of whiting, Haricot Ox Tail and boiled chicken and bacon with parsley sauce.

Titanic menu
Titanic menu

It also included Omer Pacha Egg (poached eggs covered in sauce) and Welsh rarebit – but both these items were taken off the menu that day.

In a section called ‘From the Grill’ diners were offered grilled mutton chops with potatoes cooked three-ways – mashed, straw (fried) and baked.

It includes tapioca pudding, greengage tart and pastries.

From the buffet, passengers had a choice of mayonnaise of salmon, soused herrings (herring soaked in a mild preserving liquid), potted shrimps or plain and smoked sardines.

The Titanic
The Titanic

Options include roast beef, spiced beef, Melton Mowbray pie, lamb with mint sauce, Virginia and Cumberland ham and Bologna sausage. Items also include brawn, corned ox tongue as well as lettuce, beetroot and tomatoes.

The cheese selection included Cheshire, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Edam, Camembert, Roquefort and St Ivel (a British brand of cheeses and dairy products).

To wash it down, guests were offered iced draught Munich Lager.