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NI secretary's souvenir of Titanic launch day sells for £15k at auction

By Rod Minchin

Published 25/04/2016

Charlotte Irwin
Charlotte Irwin
The ticket stub

A ticket stub from the VIP enclosure at the launch of the Titanic has sold at auction for £15,000 - exceeding its £6,000-£10,000 estimate.

It belonged to Harland & Wolff secretary Charlotte Irwin and was bought by a private collector from Britain at the sale at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Miss Irwin was just 20 and worked in the drafting office at the Belfast firm's shipyard when Titanic was being built.

And when the ocean liner was launched on May 31, 1911, she was in an executive box set aside for specially invited White Star Line and Harland & Wolff staff - giving her a great view of the Titanic sliding down the slipway into the water. Miss Irwin kept the ticket, No 116, as a souvenir of a memorable day.

It read 'TITANIC Launch', below which it states: 'To be retained for admission to Stand.'

The stub is flanked with fleur-de-lys and on its reverse are shorthand manuscript notes which read: 'Launched 31st May 1911. Left Belfast 2nd April 1912. Sailed on her maiden voyage 10th April 1912. Struck an iceberg at 11.45 on 14th April 1912 Sank with the loss of over 1,000 lives at 2.20am 15th April 1912."

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge described the item as "an exceptional piece". He said: "It is very unusual with launch tickets to be able to put a face to a ticket."

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