Letter to Dewsbury from Titanic bandleader sells for £90,000

Titanic.'Wallace Hartley.
Titanic.'Wallace Hartley.

A letter home to Dewsbury from doomed Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley has sold for £93,000.

The letter to his parents sent on the day the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton was auctioned at Henry Aldridge and Son in Wiltshire.

Hartley is famous for playing on with his band in an effort to keep the sinking vessel’s passengers calm.

The letter, which was expected to sell for £50,000-£60,000, was snapped up by an American collector.

It was mentioned in a press interview with Wallace Hartley’s mother in the Dewsbury News on April 27th 1912.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “We are unaware of any other surviving letter written by Hartley on board the ship. Clearly, this letter which mentions the band and alludes to the wealth on-board the ship – implying that some of it would make its way to the band in the form of gratuities.”

A plaque in honour of the 33-year-old is on the house in West Park Street where he lived as an adult, his family having moved to Dewsbury from Colne.

The letter in full reads: “Just a line to say we have got away all right. It’s been a bit of a rush but I am just getting a little settled.

“This is a fine ship & there ought to be plenty of money on her. I’ve missed coming home very much & it would have been nice to have seen you all if only for an hour or two, but I couldn’t manage it.

“We have a fine band & the boys seem very nice. I have had to buy some linen & I sent my washing home today by post. I shall probably arrive home on the Sunday morning. We are due here on the Saturday. I’m glad mother’s foot is better.”