Wiltshire Publications

100th anniversary of Titanic disaster marked in Westbury

W550 westbury heritage centre titanic exh tony hannaford

WESTBURY Visitor Centre is hosting an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster.

As one of the three ‘Olympic Class’ liners commissioned by the White Star Line, Titanic was a marvel of its age but sank on its maiden voyage with the loss of 1,517 lives. The anniversary of the disaster will be marked around the world on Sunday, 100 years since Titanic sank on 15th April 1912.The exhibition at the Visitor Centre features a number of reproductions, such as letters from those on board and shipping documents, as well as photos, informative posters, paintings, and books about the ship. Among the exhibition is  reference to a local family who all lost their lives in the disaster. Frederick Goodwin, who lived in Canon Square, Melksham, boarded Titanic with his wife Augusta and six children, Lilian, Charles, William, Jessie, Harold, and Sidney. Unlike the UK, land in America was relatively cheap to purchase, and coupled with a booming job economy the country was attractive for foreign families who wanted to make a new life for themselves.None of the family survived the trip, and only the body of the youngest child, Sidney, was ever recovered. There is a plaque in St Michael’s Church, around the corner from their home, which commemorates the Goodwin family.The family was among the 2,225 people who boarded the Titanic on 10th April 1912. Only 705 people survived after the passenger liner struck an iceberg on 14th of April 1912 after covering half of her trans-Atlantic crossing. In 1985 the remains of the ship were located, approximately 13 miles southeast of the location of her last distress call. The wreck is located 1,000 miles due east of Boston, Massachusetts, and 375 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The ship lies approximately 3,925 metres below sea level.Titanic continues to fascinate people around the world, including in Westbury. In 1993 a book of recently discovered and previously unpublished wireless messages was published  by the late John Booth, of Eden Vale Road, and Sean Coughlan. John Booth was well known as a map and print expert and authority on the RMS Titanic. The publication of the book, ‘Titanic: Signals of Disaster’, provided what the authors explained as “an uncluttered transcript of events, almost a running commentary of life on board before, and after disaster struck.”Pictured: Tony Hannaford at the exhibition, which he has put together with the help of Lynda Hannaford and Derek Whale.