Violin found in attic was played as Titanic sank
BRIDLINGTON has always had strong ties with the sea but its connection to the Titanic has long been hidden until now.
A humble-looking musical instrument has provided an unlikely link between the East Yorkshire coastal town and one of the world's worst maritime disasters.
More than 100 years after the tragedy, the violin owned by the band leader on the ship has been confirmed as genuine after it was discovered in an attic in the town in 2006.
The instrument used by Wallace Hartley was thought by some to have been lost in the Atlantic in the 1912 disaster.
Our transparent fixed sales fees set us aside from the competition, offering full Estate Agency Service for a fixed fee regardless of the value of your home.
Contact: 01482 423365
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He was engaged to Bridlington girl Maria Robinson, who took possession of the instrument after the sinking.
In 2006, the son of an amateur musician found the violin in the Bridlington attic, complete with a silver plate showing its provenance. After seven years of testing, costing tens of thousands of pounds, the water-stained violin has now been proven to be the one played by Hartley.
Bridlington Mayor Michael Charlesworth admits he knew nothing of the link. He said: "We all know how the musicians played on and went down with the Titanic.
"As a town, we are very proud to be linked to such a heroic moment and it's wonderful the violin has reappeared."
Within minutes of the Titanic striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912, Mr Hartley, 24, was instructed to assemble the band and play music in order to maintain calm. The eight musicians performed on the deck while passengers lined up for the lifeboats. The band carried on until the bitter end, famously playing the hymn Nearer, My God, To Thee.
Hartley and the other band members perished, along with 1,500 passengers and crew, when the vessel sank at 2.20am on April 15.
While scientists spent seven years studying the violin, specialist Titanic auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son and a biographer of Wallace Hartley meticulously researched the story behind it to discover the truth.
Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son, said: "When we first saw the violin, we had to keep a lid on our excitement because it was almost as if it was too good to be true.
"We have spent the past seven years gathering the evidence and have now reached the stage where we can say that beyond reasonable doubt this was Wallace Hartley's violin on the Titanic.
"It is the most important artefact relating to the Titanic to ever emerge and probably the most valuable."
Miss Robinson had given the violin to her sweetheart in 1910 to mark their engagement and had it engraved: "For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria."
After the sinking, it was returned to her with other personal effects.
Miss Robinson never married and died from cancer in 1939, aged 59, at her home in Bridlington.
The violin found its way to its current owner after it was given to a member of the Bridlington Salvation Army.
The violin, which is said to be worth a six-figure sum, will go on display in Belfast, where the Titanic was built, at the end of this month.