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Titanic memorabilia and Black Country relics to feature at Birmingham event

By Marion Brennan | Birmingham | Attractions | Published:

A postcard signed in 1912 by a survivor of the Titanic is among the highlights of a special exhibition of rare postcards – including some featuring the ship's anchor and chains which were made in the Black Country.

A postcard showing the Titanic's huge centre anchor ready for despatch from Netherton

Many hundreds of different designs of postcards were issued of the Titanic – during her construction and her ports of call at Southampton, Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland.

The ship was immortalised after it sank on its maiden voyage to New York on April 15, 1912, with the loss of around 1,500 crew and passengers.

A promotional postcard of the Titanic before tragedy struck

Some of the most expensive cards anywhere are those with a direct link to the ship's passengers and crew. Some of the 65 bags of mail dropped off at Queenstown containing letters and postcards sent by those on board were saved in the aftermath of the sinking, with some worth from £8,000 to £90,000 each.

Now a collection of postcards related to the Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic, together with artefacts from the liners, has been assembled for public display in Birmingham by the Postcards Traders Association.

Among the artefacts is panelling from cabin C86 on Olympic, used by the Prince of Wales, who would become Edward VIII on a 1920s voyage to America, and tiles left over from the fitting out of the Turkish Baths aboard the ships, kept as samples by the manufacturer in case any tiles needed to be replaced.

A memorial postcard produced in the aftermath of the Titanic's sinking

China and silverware from the ships will also be on display, as well as around 100 postcards showing the very human side of the story of the three vessels.

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These include a card written by Sarah Millett, cousin of the Broadway artist Francis D. Millet, who died aboard the Titanic, describing how his body had been found, and another signed by a crew member on his safe return to Southampton in 1912, proclaiming the fact he had survived the sinking.

Other postcards with a local Black Country connection feature those showing the anchor of Titanic and the anchor chains being constructed at Noah Hingley’s Netherton works.

In addition to bringing the Titanic story to life, the exhibition also tells the history behind postcards. Ten thousand visitors from across the globe are expected to attend the annual event, staged at the NEC. Titanic Memorabilia runs from Thursday(18th) to Sunday(21st).

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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