Researchers at STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway have published some original letters from 1910 and 1912 featuring links to the Titanic tragedy on a new online blog.
The blog has been set up as a behind the scenes diary of life at the Kemble Drive railway museum and will be used to share interesting discoveries made by staff and volunteers.
Elaine Arthurs, Collections Officer at STEAM, said: “Everyone knows the story of the ill-fated ship that sank on 15th April 1912. So when we discovered the documents with the word ‘Titanic’ printed on them, we really took notice.”
The first letter found to mention the Titanic is dated September 1910 and is addressed to James Inglis at Paddington from the Great Western Railway’s District Goods Manager’s Office in Liverpool.
“It confirms the building of the Titanic and her sister ship, Olympic,”said Elaine. “The GWR were obviously interested in the White Star Line’s new liners for a purely commercial reason and probably were hoping to provide the passenger transport to and from the proposed ports. The GWR had been advertising with the White Star Line since the late 1890s.”
A second set of documents relates to a passenger who died on the Titanic. The passenger in question was Christopher Head who was a shareholder in the GWR.
“The letters, dated May 1912, between the GWR and a London based firm of solicitors are confirming the death of Christopher when the Titanic sank, so the shares could be released,” added Elaine. “We know from passenger lists that Christopher was a former Mayor of Chelsea and he boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger. He paid £42 10s for his ticket and occupied cabin B-11. His body was never recovered.”
The documents were donated to the old Swindon Railway Museum, Faringdon Road, in 1993 and recently came to light through a re-cataloguing process by STEAM.
You can see images of the Titanic documents by viewing the new STEAM Blog at: http://steammuseum.blogspot.com/2011/02/curatorial-corner-15th-february-2011.html
The blog also provides the chance to keep up to date with STEAM’s newly acquired objects in Curatorial Corner. Find the STEAM blog at: steammuseum.blogspot.com
STEAM also now has an official fan page on Facebook, set up to share the latest news on STEAM special events and promotions. STEAM on Facebook is at: www.facebook.com/steammuseum
Cllr Garry Perkins, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and the cabinet member responsible for STEAM, said: “The new online blog and Facebook page are an excellent way to showcase some of the fantastic discoveries the team at STEAM make on a daily basis.
“I’m sure fans of the museum will enjoy being able to go behind the scenes to discover even more historical treasures.”
To find out more about what’s happening at STEAM, you can also call the Museum on 01793 466637 or visit the website at www.swindon.gov.uk/steam
STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway is owned and managed by Swindon Borough Council.