Titanic Letters | The Story Behind One of Titanic's Last Letters

The Story Behind the Last Letter Written on RMS Titanic

titanic letters

Fascination with RMS Titanic has spanned across the decades. And today, visitors to 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic are transported back to the era of luxury ocean liners.

Though the size and opulence  of Titanic is often a key focus, the public are also enthralled by the lives of those who boarded the ship. Stories of calm and compassionate passengers are particularly poignant.

The last known letter from the Titanic, written by mother and daughter Esther and Eva Hart is at the centre of one of those stories, and was sold at auction for a staggering £119,000.

The Hart Family

As seen on the photograph below, Benjamin Hart, his wife Esther Hart and their daughter Eva Hart were three of those aboard the Titanic. Boarding as second-class passengers at Southampton, they family had intended to travel on the Philadelphia, yet the coal strike meant that many of its passengers were transferred to travel on the Titanic instead.

Hart Family Titanic
Benjamin, Eva and Esther Hart (Source: Wiki Commons)

Reflecting on her time aboard the RMS Titanic, Eva recalled:

“We went on the day on the boat train. I was 7, I had never seen a ship before. It looked very big. Everybody was very excited. We went down to the cabin and that’s when my mother said to my father that she had made up her mind quite firmly that she would not go to bed in that ship. She would sit up at night. She decided that she wouldn’t go to bed at night and she didn’t!”

the last letter 

The last letter from the Titanic can only be seen by us today because Esther had been given her husband’s jacket as she left the ship. Tucked away inside the coat pocket was the unsent letter to Esther’s mother in Chadwell Heath, which documented the family’s time on the voyage with personal touches that set the scene for us today.

In the historic letter, Esther writes,

 “the sailors say we have had a wonderful passage, up to now there has been no tempest, but God knows what it must be.

When there is one, this roughly expanse of water, no land in sight and the ship rolling from side to side is very wonderful tho they say this ship does not roll on account of its size.

Anyhow it rolls enough for me, I shall never forget it. It is nice weather but awfully windy and cold.They say we may get into New York Tuesday night but we were really due early on Wednesday morning.”

Talking about Eva’s time on the ship, Esther writes,

This morning Eva and I went to church and she was so pleased they sang Oh Lord Our Help In Ages Past, that is the hymn she sang so nicely, so she sang out loud, she is very bonny.

She has had a nice ball and a box of toffee and a photo of this ship bought her today, everybody takes notice of her … the teddy bear.

There is to be a concert on board tomorrow night in aid of the Sailors Home and she is going to sing, so am I.”

The auction house’s Andrew Alrdidge emphasised the significance of the letter:

“this is the only known letter written on Titanic stationary on board on that fateful day.

The importance of this document cannot be overstated. It is quite simply the jewel in the crown of Titanic manuscript ephemera.

The letter and envelope are in remarkable condition and the content of it is excellent as it gives a taste of what life was like on board.”

The letter was finished by Eva herself and signed off with kisses for her grandmother, which can be seen on the letter below.

THE SINKING SHIP

When RMS Titanic struck the iceberg, Eva was sleeping. Wrapped up in a blanket by her father, Benjamin Hart carried her to the deck and placed his wife and daughter in Lifeboat No.14.  Mr Hart told Eva to ‘hold mummy’s hand and be a good girl.’

While Esther and Eva were two of Titanic’s lucky survivors, Mr Hart sadly died in the disaster. His words to his daughter at the lifeboats were the last Eva heard.

The Hart family had been planning to start a new chapter in Canada and set up a chemist business. However, following the sinking, Esther and her daughter returned to England and lived in Chadwell Heath.

Esther Hart went on to live until 65, passing away in 1928. Her daughter Eva become a magistrate and died at age 91, passing away in 1996.

30 James Street – Home of the Titanic

Once the headquarters of the White Star Line, 30 James Street Hotel cultivates RMS Titanic’s unique history and the links between Liverpool and the Titanic.

titanic-themed hotel

Rooms at 30 James Street ensure you feel like a first class passenger, with amenities including whirlpool baths and kitchenettes. Rooms and suites are available to be booked online.

Mother's Day

The Grade II* landmark only moments from Liverpool’s waterfront, 30 James Street is without a doubt one of the best spots to stay in Liverpool if you’re planning to explore cultural landmarks, the Albert Dock and the best bars and restaurants in the city.

30 James Street is also home to Carpathia, the best rooftop bar and restaurant in Liverpool. Set to open a stunning new terrace extension this year, Carpathia is a fabulous spot to wine and dine alongside stunning views across the city.

To make a reservation, please call 0151 236 0166 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk. 

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