Titanic sister ship Britannic's fittings sold at auction

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HMHS Britannic seen during World War IImage source, Allan Green
Image caption,
The Britannic served as a hospital ship in World War One

Ornate carved wooden panelling from HMHS Britannic, one of the Titanic's sister ships built at Harland and Wolff, has fetched more than a quarter of a million pounds at auction.

Two items from the first-class lounge and second-class library fetched a sum of €301,000 (£257,000) in Co Laois.

They were bought by bidders from the Republic of Ireland.

One item - "exceptional maple panelling in a colonial style" - has been recreated as a fine period piece bar.

The bar had been inside a private house in Dublin for the past 40 years.

Image caption,
One Britannic item has been recreated as a bar

The wood was taken off the vessel, which launched in Belfast in 1914, so it could be used as a troop ship during World War One.

The vessel later sank after hitting a mine in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece while on her way to collect troops wounded in the Balkan campaign.

Thirty lives were lost in the sinking.

The Britannic's stored luxurious furniture and fittings were auctioned in Belfast in 1919 and ornate carved wood panelling from both the first-class lounge and second-class library were used to adorn the La Scala Theatre and Opera House in Dublin, which later became the Capitol Cinema.

They remained in place until the building's demolition in 1972, when it made way for what is now Penneys, and the panelling was installed in a private individual's residence near Dublin.

Image caption,
The historic wood was taken off the vessel which launched in Belfast in 1914

The nationality of the successful bidders has not been confirmed.

Ahead of the auction at the Heritage Golf Resort in Killenard, organiser Niall Mullen, said: "The seller hopes that someone from Northern Ireland will be successful in bidding for the items because then it will go back to where it was from.

"There has been a lot of interest from all over the world. A number of people from Belfast came down to view it last weekend."

Media caption,

Handrails, glass windows, floor tiles, even the captain's bath tub are on view, as the BBC's Andrew Bomford reports

"I chose the lot numbers 433 and 433a because that is the number of the ship at the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard."

"The oak had been seasoned for at least 35 years before manufacture, dating it back at least to 1877."

The Britannic was the third of the Olympic class of steamships, along with the RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic.

The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in 1912 with the loss of 1,514 lives while the Olympic had a successful 24-year career including service as a troopship in World War One.

Items connected with the Titanic and her sister ships have a history of selling for high prices at auction.