Wiltshire

Titanic plan used in inquiry to be auctioned

Titanic inquiry plan
Image caption The auctioneers said the plan could make anything from £100,000 to £150,000

A detailed plan of the Titanic used in the inquiry into the sinking of the ship in 1912 is to be auctioned in Wiltshire.

The 33ft (10m) cross-section was commissioned by the British Board of Trade to assist in the 36-day inquiry.

The plan hung in the hearing room throughout proceedings and is marked in chalk to indicate where the iceberg is thought to have struck the liner.

Valued at £100,000, the plan will be auctioned on 28 May in Devizes.

The hand-drawn plan of the Titanic was prepared by White Star Line architects for the 1912 British inquiry into the sinking of the ship, just weeks after the disaster.

It allowed the 96 witnesses called to testify to indicate various parts of the ship using a pointer.

After the inquiry concluded that the loss of the ship had been brought about by "excessive speed", the unique plan was returned to White Star.

Since then it has been in private hands and, according to auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son, not been put on public display.

'Holy Grail'

In April, ahead of the auction, the plan was placed in view for the first time in a century.

It was the centrepiece of an exhibition at Belfast City Hall to mark the centenary of the ship's launch.

"We had over 10,000 viewers in Belfast over three days," said auctioneer Andrew Aldridge.

"It's attracting a lot of interest - one expert has said it's the Holy Grail of Titanic memorabilia."

In 2007 the keys and chain of the postmaster of the Titanic mail room made £101,000, a record amount for Henry Aldridge & Son.

The Titanic inquiry plan is expected to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000.

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