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Original Titanic violin coming to Titanic Belfast

2 September - 13 October

Titanic Belfast - original violin

The violin played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley during Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage will go on display at Titanic Belfast this month.

The instrument, which was discovered in an attic in North Yorkshire in 2006, was earlier this year verified by extensive research, including MRI scans, as that which second-class passenger Wallace Hartley played on Titanic’s fateful night of April 14th, 1912.

The violin, accompanied by a leather luggage case initialed W. H. H., will reside in the replica second-class accommodation suite in Titanic Belfast’s Fit-Out Gallery from September 18 until October 13, 2013. It is likely to be the final public display of the instrument before it goes to auction.

It was brought to public attention in 2011 and auctioned last year, during the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s maiden voyage.

The rosewood violin was given to the Lanchashire-born Mr Hartley as a gift from his fiancée Maria Robinson on the event of their engagement.

Regarded as a hero in Titanic’s enduring story, Hartley is credited with the decision to lead his eight-strong band into the historic hymn ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’ in an attempt to calm passengers as they boarded lifeboats.

Having chosen to play on, all eight men perished in the disaster, and Hartley’s remains were recovered on April 29, 1912 by crew on the MacKay Bennett. His body was recorded as number 224.

The violin will arrive at Titanic Belfast from the United States, where a recent display in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, saw record numbers view it.

Titanic Belfast CEO Tim Husbands said: “We are honored and excited that Titanic Belfast has been chosen to display Wallace Hartley’s violin which he played on RMS Titanic.

“The violin was strapped to Wallace Hartley’s body when he was recovered, and it is a remarkable story that has brought it from the disaster scene to the birthplace of Titanic in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and to the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience.

“This could very well be a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to see one of the world’s most famous and most valuable Titanic artifacts before it goes to auction.”

For more inspiration visit our Titanic Built in Belfast section.

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