Wednesday, 11 April 2012
DAY 2 The last chance to post mail
Yesterday one hundred years ago RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, by evening she had called briefly at Cherbourg, France but as the berth had not yet been constructed to accommodate large liners the size of Titanic tenders were used to ferry passengers who were only crossing to the Continent and to collect passengers bound for either Ireland or the US.
Today approaching Queenstown would have been the last opportunity for passengers to send mail. Ireland was part of Great Britain in 1912, so letters would have been carried by the Royal Mail using stamps bearing King Edward VII's head.
This is an illustration of a postcard sent from the ship. It is part of the Mary Ann Perreault collection which was sold at auction in London on Wednesday April 28 1999. The message reads: 4/11/12 D.B. Had a very smooth night expect to arrive Queenstown in 1/2 hours, feeling much better this morning., love a
I believe we are interested in the stories of the ship because of the people's stories. Although they lived in a different age from ours, they are like us. They came from all ranks of Edwardian society but still had to face the same dilemma. It is that question, even today we can relate to, by asking ourselves what would we have done?
When I was writing my novel Tomorrow Belongs to Us I included a Queenstown scene including the lace-sellers who were allowed on board with their Irish souvenirs. I found that the gift of lace provided a very useful part of my plot, although I do have the Astors buying some. I have no evidence, nor have I ever found any to corroborate that assertion. Like many novelists, my work is fiction based in an actual setting. The ebook is available from www.musapublishing.com and www.amazon.co.uk .