Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Taste of Titanic as menus make £100k at auction

Two tasty pieces of Titanic memorabilia — including a lunch menu from the ship’s doomed maiden voyage — have fetched a world record £100,000 at auction.

The collectors’ items went under the hammer at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire on Saturday.

A first class lunch menu from the Titanic sold for £64,0000.

Another menu from a special lunch to mark the launch of the ill-fated liner was bought for £36,000.

The auctioneers said the sums received for the menus had set new world record prices.

A private collector bought the menu from the ship which lays out the lunch options for the first meal provided on the fateful journey. Among the luxurious offerings available to wealthy guests was fresh lobster, hodge podge and spiced beef. The menu belonged to brothers Richard and Stanley May who were travelling to Cork for a week-long fishing holiday. They used Titanic to cross the Irish Sea.

The second menu shows how well-to-do guests toasted the launch of the ship at a VIP event in Belfast.

It was also snapped up by a private collector.

The celebration took place at the Grand Central Hotel — now transformed into CastleCourt shopping mall — on May 31, 1911.

Guests tucked into foie gras and turtle soup while sipping champagne.

It was a formal luncheon sponsored by Harland & Wolff and consisted of 12 lavish courses.

Ponche a la Romaine was served as a palate cleanser, made from lemon, water, ice, Champagne and rum — a drink also served to first class passengers on Titanic.

Lord Pirrie — a Harland & Wolff partner and one-time Lord Mayor of Belfast — attended with officials from the shipbuilding company.

According to contemporary reports, around 70 prominent people were in attendance including Luigi Gatti, who would be manager of Titanic's restaurant.

Andrew Aldridge from the auction company said memorabilia from Titanic's launch was among the rarest material in existence linked to the doomed White Star liner.

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