[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Titanic hero's menu smashes record
Harold Lowe
Harold Lowe saved many lives on the night of the disaster
A menu of the first meal ever served aboard the Titanic has sold for £51,000, smashing the record for memorabilia from the doomed liner at an auction.

The menu belonged to north Wales officer Harold Lowe, who was widely regarded as one of the heroes of the disaster.

The menu went under the hammer at an auction of Titanic memorabilia at a Southampton hotel on Friday - 92 years to the day after that first dinner was served.

The sinking of the Titanic claimed 1,500 lives after the ship hit an iceberg in the Atlantic on its maiden voyage.

Fifth Officer Lowe, from Eglwys Rhos, Conwy, who was 29 at the time of the sinking, was famed for his cool nerve when many around were gripped by panic.

Lowe, who was played by Ioan Gruffudd in the 1997 Oscar-winning film Titanic, fired his revolver into the air to warn off stampeding male passengers as he tried to ensure women and children were put into lifeboats first.

The menu sold for £51,000, beating the £37,000 record price for Titanic artefacts paid for a photo album of the ship last year.

Auctioneer Alan Aldridge said Lowe "was the real hero of the disaster and a very brave man who I've always admired and he's held in such high regard by Titanic buffs."

Experts had estimated it might fetch £40,000. The price also smashed the previous record for a Titanic menu - £29,500.

Mr Aldridge said: "There were only 50 people who took that first dinner and only the senior officers attended."

Harrowing journey

The menu was bought by a British collector, who wished to remain anonymous, out-bidding American collectors in the auction room and on the telephone.

Harold Lowe's menu
The menu sold for well above the estimated price of £40,000

The first-class menu had been sent to Lowe's future wife Ellen Whitehouse when the ship was docked in Ireland on its way to America.

On the bottom Lowe had scrawled: "This is the first meal ever served on board."

The menu - dated 2 April, 1912 - offered a choice of consommé mirrette, sweetbreads, spring lamb and braised ham.

On the night of the disaster Lowe made a harrowing journey in a lifeboat looking for survivors in the icy waters among the bodies and wreckage.

He was one of only two of the ship's officers to survive.

A year after the disaster in 1913, Lowe, who was born in Barmouth, married Ellen and they had two children Florence and Harold.

During World War I he was a commander in the Royal Naval Reserve and when he died in 1944, he was buried in Llandrillo yn Rhos in Conwy.

The proceeds from the sale will go to the officer's family.

Titanic hero's menu under hammer
30 Dec 03  |  North West Wales
Titanic watch up for auction
20 Nov 99  |  UK News
Old letters fetch Titanic prices
21 Jan 99  |  Entertainment
Titanic menu tops auction
03 Dec 03  |  Northern Ireland
Titanic survivor 'refuses' film invite
15 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Unused Titanic ticket on display
01 Sep 03  |  England
Titanic bargain from antique sale
14 Jan 04  |  Scotland


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific