Henry Aldridge & Son

The Devizes Auctioneers

"The Wiltshire Auctioneers with the Worldwide Reputation"



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Titanic Launch Menu to be Auctioned

One of the Rarest Menus in Existence

Estimated to Sell for over £30000.


Henry Aldridge and Son, the world’s leading auctioneers of Titanic memorabilia are holding an auction of Titanic and Transport memorabilia on November 24th. It is 100 years since the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage on April 15th 1912 with the loss of over 1500 lives.

RMS Titanic sank with the loss of over 1500 lives in the early hours of April 15th 1912 and is widely regarded as the most famous shipping disaster of all time. But little more than eleven months before she was launched into a wave of optimisim at Harland and Wolff in Belfast. Widely regarded as the largest manmade object ever moved at that time, her launch attracted over 100000 people.

At nearly noon on 31st May 1911 a rocket was fired into the air signaling the impending launch and warning small ships to steer clear. Soon after, there was another rocket and the launch of the vessel, now weighing about 26000 tons, was underway.

In just over a minute, Titanic was in the water and riding high both figuratively and literally due to its relatively light weight. Of course, no celebration would be complete without a feast and Titanic was no exception.

This menu is one of a handful if not the only example to survive from the VIP lunch that celebrated her launch in style. This was a formal luncheon sponsored by Harland & Wolff and held in the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast. According to contemporary press reports approximately 69 prominent people were in attendance including Luigi Gatti, who would later be manager of Titanic's a la carte restaurant. Members of the press enjoyed a later meal at the same hotel, also sponsored by the shipyard, it is at this later lunch that it is reputed the Titanic gained her moniker as "Unsinkable". The main VIP luncheon consisted of 12 lavish courses including eggs stuffed with foie gras, turtle soup and Sussex capon. Ponche at la Romaine was served as a palate cleanser made from lemon water ice, champagne and rum, a drink that ironically was also served to First Class passengers on Titanic. The courses were matched with the finest wines and spirits to guarantee the enjoyment of those in attendance. Memorabilia from the launch is among the rarest Titanic material in existence today and is on a par with items from her final hours prior to her collision with an iceberg on April 14th 1912.

Fully illustrated colour catalogues are now available at a cost of £20 plus postage; please visit www.henry-aldridge.com for further details.