Titanic: Extremely rare artefacts displayed in Bristol

Rare and "never seen before" items from the "fascinating and tragic" Titanic shipwreck have been put on display.

The Titanic Exhibition in Bristol includes sheet music that was played by the ship's band as the vessel sank and a foghorn used during the rescues.

The show was curated by White Star Heritage who specialise in collecting and preserving Titanic and White Star Line ship artefacts.

Director Tom Rudderham said the pieces are part of our "culture and heritage".

The RMS Titanic, operated by the White Star Line, sank in April 1912 after it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

More than 1,500 people died.

"The sheet music belonged to Wallis Hartley who was the band leader on board - his body was recovered the day after the sinking and strapped to him was his briefcase, his violin and all sorts of other items," he said.

"Interestingly enough the violin was sold at auction for £1m and the sheet music was found Inside his briefcase, sandwiched with a leather case.

"A lot of the items have never been seen before. "

Other artefacts on display include a fragment of a deck chair that had been thrown overboard, collected by a rescue ship and later stored in a warehouse in Canada.

However it was "blown to smithereens" in 1916 after two ships collided in a nearby harbour and exploded in what he said was "the largest man made explosion until World War Two".

"It's an explosive story for a piece of deck chair," Mr Rudderham said.

"They are priceless artefacts that tell an important story. It's part of our heritage and culture.

"It's a story that resonates with so many people and it was also a turning point in history.

"It was the end of the Edwardian era and there was a class system that doesn't really exist now, in a way.

"It was a story of so many coincidences, so much bad luck, having the richest people on board, the creators of the ship, the maiden voyage, it all comes together in this incredible story that is so fascinating but also so tragic," he added.

The iconic vessel sank within hours and now lies 3,800m (12,500ft) down in the Atlantic Ocean.

It remains one of the most famous shipwrecks in history that had its story turned into an Oscar award winning film.

The exhibition at the Paintworks Event Space in Bristol was opened on 10 February and runs until 25 February.

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