Last lunch menu for ‘Titanic’ first-class passengers goes on display in Belfast
Friendship with steward on ill-fated liner ensured an entire family was saved
The menu of the last lunch first-class passengers enjoyed on the ill-fated Titanic on April 14th, 1912. Diners were offered corned beef, vegetables and dumplings, salmon mayonnaise, Norwegian anchovies, potted shrimps and soused herrings for lunch. The menu goes on display today at the Titanic Belfast visitor centre.
The last lunch that first-class passengers enjoyed on the ill-fated Titanic almost 101 years ago included fare such as cockie leekie soup, fillets of brill, brawn, chicken Maryland, and veal and ham pie washed down with tankards of beer.
That luncheon menu, believed to have been bought for $122,000 (€94,300), goes on display today at the Titanic Belfast visitor centre.
The rare menu has been lent to Titanic Belfast by Rupert Hunt, owner of spareroom.com who bought it last year from the Dodge family. They had had it in their possession since the ship went down.
The menu was for lunch on April 14th, 1912. Later that night the Titanic struck the iceberg causing the great ship to sink early the following morning with the loss of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.
The menu belonged to passenger Ruth Dodge, the wife of Dr Washington Dodge. On its reverse, a hand-written note from a ship steward, who knew the family, reads, “With compliments & best wishes from Frederic Dent Ray, 56 Palmer Park, Reading, Berks.”
This was a very fortuitous friendship as it was Mr Ray who ensured the Dodge family on board the Titanic survived the disaster. Mr Ray was a steward who had been ordered to take charge of one of the Titanic ’s lifeboats, with 30 children aboard. While the rule was women and children first, the steward, who knew Dr Dodge from previous voyages, encouraged him into the lifeboat to help the distressed youngsters. His wife and son had already left the ship on another lifeboat.
The last lunch was fairly solid grub that would have set passengers up for a good postprandial stroll around deck.
Also on offer was corned beef, vegetables and dumplings, salmon mayonnaise, Norwegian anchovies, potted shrimps and soused herrings, and custard pudding. Or the first-class passengers could opt for roast or spiced beef, Virginia and Cumberland ham, Bologna sausage or corned ox tongue. The meal was completed with a selection of cheeses such as Cheshire, Stilton and cheddar. There was also iced draught Munich lager at six or three old pennies a tankard.