Wallace Hartley Titanic Violin Trip

18th October 2013

On Monday the 14th of October 12 students who had helped the English department out with their Titanic- themed Open Evening event were lucky enough to visit Dewsbury Town Hall to see Wallace Hartley's world-famous violin on display before it goes on sale for auction.

For those of you with a fairly limited knowledge of the Titanic disaster, Wallace Hartley, who lived near St Mark’s Church in Dewsbury, was the Bandmaster on board the ship who had been asked by the captain to play a selection of songs to calm the passengers during its final two hours.

Wallace and his band mates continued to play their songs up to the last moments before the ship finally sunk below the Atlantic Ocean; tragically neither Wallace nor any of the other band members survived.

When Wallace Hartley's body was eventually discovered it was found with his music bag and violin case tightly strapped around his back as if he had no intention of giving it up.

The violin in question was bought for him by his fiancée several days before setting off on the journey to New York and contains the message: 'For WALLACE on the OCCASION of our ENGAGEMENT from MARIA.'

The violin was recently discovered by one of Wallace's relatives hidden away in an attic and is currently insured for £1 million. The violin goes on auction later this month and is expected to sell for a figure somewhere between £750, 000 and £1, 250,000.

Also on display was Wallace Hartley's leather bound music case and a collection of music sheets and hymn sheets used by the band on that fateful night.

During the event the students asked questions to auctioneers about the value and history of the violin and discovered that there have already been 3 secret bids for the violin.

Unfortunately these are from American business men and pop stars (one of which made more than $330 dollars last year alone) Let us hope that a bidder with a love of Titanic memorabilia makes an attempt to keep the violin on show in this country, for sadly it could be the last time the British public have the privilege of observing such a unique and historical item.

Nathaniel Craig, a Year 10 student, said: “It was a very poignant moment when my classmates and I were allowed to stand beside the violin. To think that this violin was actually on board the ship when it struck disaster is incredible to think and that over a hundred years later we are fortunate to be able to take a photograph of it makes me very privileged

Mrs Senior, an administration officer at Manor Croft Academy, said: “Wallace Hartley was and still is, over a century later, a hero to people of these parts. He will always be remembered for his selfless bravery in the face of adversity.”

All students involved were a credit to Manor Croft Academy and now have a collection of photographs taken of the experience that they will cherish forever.