In the words of David Dickinson “interest in the Titanic is as strong as ever” which is perhaps why any Titanic artefact with connections to the great maritime tragedy are still being sought and sold at auction.
This December, a keepsake from the home of Captain E.J Smith will go under the hammer at Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Fine & Decorative Arts Sale.
A detailed silver framed easel mirror with intricate detailing that is rumoured to carry a haunting secret within.
The History of the Haunted Mirror
After Captain E.J Smith was lost onboard Titanic along with over 1500 other souls, his family had the sad task of dividing up his belongings to those who knew and loved him.
One of those invited to chose something to remember Captain Smith with was his housekeeper Ethelwynne, who chose as her memento a silver-plated easel mirror that had always resided upon his dressing table.
This token she was granted as a keepsake of her employer and in lieu of any wages owed eventually made its way to her sister-in-law Hilda, who then gifted it to an unknown Ida.
Along with the mirror was a handwritten note in a brown envelope from Hilda explaining to Ida the origins of the mirror and the chilling annual appearance of Smith’s face within the glass on the anniversary of the Titanic sinking.
As I promised you last week I can tell you the history of that silver mirror I gave you.
Ethelwynne, my sister-in-law, who you have met, was the housekeeper to the late Captain Smith, who went down with the ship Titanic,
When he died in that terrible accident, she was allowed to have any one item of his personal property as a keepsake and for unpaid wages.
She chose that silver mirror which had been on this dressing table, which is the same one I gave you.
She always spooked me when she said that at times she could still see Captain Smiths face in it on the anniversary of then the Titanic was sunk.
Lots of Love
Captain E.J Smith
Born in Staffordshire in 1850 to Edward and Catherine, Smith made his way to work at an early age, leaving school at just 13. He quickly rose through the seaman ranks, becoming a certified first mate at the age of just 21.
At 30 years old Smith became the Fourth Officer on the SS Celtic, one of the largest vessels to make early transatlantic crossings and popular with migrants. During his time with White Star, Smith earned the rank of Lieutenant and went onto to join the Royal Naval Reserve.
By 37 Smith had married Sarah Pennington and the happy couple had a daughter five years later named Helen.
White Star’s Safe Captain
In 1902, Smith held command of his first passenger ship as Captain. The Baltic would be the first in a long line of luxury cruise liners he would command including the Majestic and the Adriatic. He had also been awarded for his services in the Boer War, undertaking two trooping journeys into South Africa.
Captain Smith became known as the “safe Captain” at White Star and often took White Star’s newest vessels out on their maiden voyages. He was also well known and liked among passengers who frequently travelled the transatlantic route.
Smith had no difficulty in his 30-year career on the seas until he took command of White Star’s first Olympic liner, the RMS Olympic, which he crashed into HMS Hawke, a warship, of the coast of the Isle of Wight in 1911. The HMS Hawke incident did not shake White Star’s confidence in their star Captain, but instead, they chose him to command their ship of dreams, the next Olympic liner RMS Titanic.
This, of course, as we know, ended in great disaster with the loss of over 1500 souls, including Smith who chose to go down with his ship. Smith had planned to retire following his stint on RMS Titanic making the 18th White Star ship he had commanded his last voyage as Captain.
Titanic Items Sold for Thousands at Auction
Even now, over one hundred years since Titanic sank, people, are still fascinated by the vessel, those onboard and the treasures from its cargo.
Item’s that hold great significance to the ship have been sold under the hammer for an extraordinary value. These include jewellery recovered from the wreck site, a violin that was stored away in an obscure loft, and original menus from the Titanic’s first class a la carte restaurant, to name but a few.
It is not only the physical items that people are interested in when it comes to Titanic. The individual stories and accounts from passengers and crew members who survived are still hot topics of conversation among Titanic aficionados.
Today at 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic, we keep the memory of history’s greatest maritime tragedy alive by investigating the pasts lives of people connected to the vessel and its links to Liverpool. Our history archives have detailed accounts of RMS Titanic her passengers and what it took to design and build such a luxurious cruise liner.
A Titanic artefact such as Captain Smith’s silver mirror brings new attention to RMS Titanic and the tragic story behind its untimely demise.
The Home of Titanic
Learn more about the world-famous cruise liner, its passengers and White Stars history by paying a visit to 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic. Explore the respectfully restore White Star Head Quarters, which has been transformed into a luxury Liverpool hotel.
Dine in style inside Carpathia, an exquisite rooftop restaurant named and themed after the rescue ship of Titanic survivors, enjoy relaxing in Morgan’s Spa named after the financier of the trip who narrowly escaped the ill-fated journey.
30 James Street – Home of the Titanic is much more than a luxury Liverpool hotel, instead, it is a reminder of Liverpool’s connections to Titanic and an archive for the history associated with the most famous ship in the world.
Call now on 0151 601 8801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a stay, meal or spa visit or special event at 30 James Street – Home of Titanic.