Publican buys letter from Titanic passenger

 

A letter written by a Titanic passenger which was used as a bookmark for years was bought by a Dublin publican at auction today for €19,500.

The short letter, still in its envelope bearing a penny stamp and postmarked only three days before the liner struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, was bought for double its estimate at the sale at Tennants of Leyburn in North Yorkshire.

It was bought to hang on the wall at a museum pub called The Poitin Stil, in the Dublin area after a phone bid from the pub's owner Mr Fitzgerald.

The letter - once hidden away in an old box of letters by its unsuspecting owner - was originally valued by the auctioneer at about €10,000 but the price was pushed up as six phone bidders fought for the lot.

The letter was written by first class passenger Miss Alice Lenox-Conyngham, from Co Down, who sailed just on the first leg of the voyage from Southampton to Cherbourg with three relatives.

Written to her Cambridge nephew Alan Duff on the White Star Line RMS Titanic headed paper and written on Wednesday April 10th, 1912, the note was part of the last batch of mail from the ship before it set out on its fateful journey from Cobh across the North Atlantic.

Eerily Miss Lenox-Conyngham began her letter by writing: "I am told this is the Titanic's maiden voyage so I think I must use some of its paper," before disclosing how the reputedly unsinkable ship had narrowly avoided a collision even before it left Southampton, "there was nearly an accident just as we started, but we did not know till it was nearly over".

PA