Wiltshire

Fur coat worn by Titanic stewardess sells for £150,000

Fur coat worn by Mabel Bennett
Image caption The coat was in Mabel Bennett's family until 1999

A fur coat worn by a stewardess when the Titanic sank has been sold at auction for £150,000, almost double its original valuation of £80,000.

Mabel Bennett grabbed the garment for protection from the elements, as she was wearing a nightdress when lifeboat crews arrived on the doomed ship.

It has been on display in the US after being sold by her family in 1999.

Once taxes and the auction house's charges have been added, the unidentified buyer will pay £181,000.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said the garment was "one of the most visual lots" to go on sale in recent years.

More than 1,500 passengers and crew died when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in April 1912, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

Image copyright Henry Alridge & Son
Image caption Mabel Bennett can be seen wearing the coat on the deck of the SS Lapland (third from the left at the back of the group, next to the lady with a veiled hat)

Mabel Bennett, who died aged 96 in 1974, gave the coat to her great-niece in the 1960s.

It comes with a letter of provenance, which reads: "This coat was worn by my Great Aunt Mabel who was a Stewardess.

"On her rescue from the Titanic she was in her nightdress and this coat was the first garment she snatched for warmth.

"My aunt gave me the coat in the early 60s, because of her advancing years she found the weight of the coat too much for her."

Mrs Bennett, who worked in the first class section of the Titanic, also wore the coat aboard the Red Star Line SS Lapland, which was used to transport the surviving Titanic crew back to Britain.

She can be seen in a photo with other Titanic stewardesses, which was taken on the deck of the Lapland on the return voyage to Plymouth.

Image copyright Central Press/ Getty Images
Image caption The Titanic, the largest liner of its time, was claimed to be "unsinkable"

The coat, which was altered slightly by Mrs Bennett's great-niece in the 1960s to give it a more contemporary feel, remained in the family until 1999.

It was recently on display at a museum in the US, where it was shown in a recreation of a Titanic first-class stateroom.

The sale was held at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes.

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