Northern Ireland

Titanic menu expected to fetch more than £30,000 at auction

Titanic VIP lunch menu
Image caption Twelve courses were featured on the menu for the lunch, which was sponsored by Harland & Wolff

A menu from a VIP lunch held to mark the launch of the Titanic is expected to fetch more than £30,000 at auction this weekend.

Twelve lavish courses including eggs stuffed with foie gras, turtle soup and Sussex capon were enjoyed by 69 dignitaries at the event in the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast on 31 May 1911.

The courses were matched with the finest wines and spirits as well as a palate cleanser made from lemon water, ice, champagne and rum.

Many of those in attendance would have mingled with the thousands who witnessed the launch of the ship at Harland & Wolff against a backdrop of booming rockets.

They included Luigi Gatti, who would later be manager of Titanic's a la carte restaurant.

The menu will be put up for sale at Henry Aldridge and Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire, on Saturday.

Andrew Aldridge from the firm said memorabilia from the Titanic's launch was among the rarest material linked to the doomed White Star liner in existence.

"This is a significant item, any material relating to the launch is rare, it is as rare as material relating to the last few hours of the Titanic," he added.

"There were three lunches on the day of the launch of the Titanic: there was one relating to Queen's Island featuring the top brass, there was the VIP lunch at the Grand Central Hotel and there was a press lunch after that.

"This is the first menu from the VIP lunch that I have handled and we have handled a lot of Titanic memorabilia.

"We sold a menu from the press lunch 14 years ago in 1998 for £10,000 and they are more common.

"The VIP lunch would have included a number of staff they would have wanted to look after such as White Star directors.

"This is indicated by the quality of food and wines.

"With 12 courses at lunchtime they would have had a good afternoon."