When Ester Hart wrote a letter to her mother in Chadwell, Heath that fateful day back in 1912, she had no way to know that it would become the famous Titanic letter – an artifact that would survive along with her and her daughter, Eva Hart.
The Titanic, built by the White Star Line, was meant to travel from Southampton in the UK to New York in the US. The ship had 2,224 passengers and crewmembers on board, but more than 1,500 people died the day the ship sank in the North Atlantic, after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912.
Some of the Titanic passengers were very rich, while others were poor settlers trying to make it to the new world to start a new life. Ester Hart, her husband and seven-year-old daughter, Eva, were three such people, heading to the US.
The letter Ester wrote is famous because it is said to be the last letter written from the Titanic. At one point, this piece of history was sold for £119,000 at an auction. Now, its owners, a Scottish business person named Mr. Garreth Wood and wife, Nicola, have loaned it to the Titanic Belfast, where it will stay on display for five years. The letter is written on paper that has the White Star Line flag embossed into it and has a heading that reads, “On Board RMS Titanic.”
The Titanic letter survived the disaster because it was inside Ester’s husband’s coat, which she was wearing. Before it goes on display, the letter will be analyzed to find out if anything on it needs to be restored or repaired.
Mrs. Hart’s fateful letter describes the ship’s voyage as being “wonderful” and that she thought they would make it to New York early. She described a concert she and her daughter had attended where Eva sang a hymn, and how she was looking forward to another concert scheduled the next night.
The owners of the Titanic letter say that they are thrilled to be able to loan this piece of history to the Titanic Belfast so that people can view it at their leisure.