| An Edwardian omnibus ticket taken from the Titanic on show at the museum. (Reuters)
London, March 5 (Reuters): Four water-stained London tram tickets never before seen in public feature in an exhibition of artefacts from the Titanic that opens in May.
The tickets for travel from Waterloo Bridge in the city centre to Camberwell Green in the south were found in a leather wallet among debris scattered around the wreck, 2.5 miles down off the coast of Newfoundland.
“We are all familiar with the Titanic from Hollywood, but this exhibition reveals the human side,” exhibition organiser Mark Lach told reporters.
The supposedly unsinkable Titanic, the greatest engineering achievement of its age, set sail from Southampton on April 10, 1912 on route to New York via Cherbourg.
She was carrying 2,227 passengers and crew, but had lifeboats for only 1,178.
Just before midnight four days later, the huge and luxurious liner hit an iceberg at speed and sank, killing 1,522 men, women and children, triggering major maritime reforms and creating a lasting byword for disaster at sea.
Nearly 91 years later, only three of the 705 survivors are still alive.
Among other never-before-seen artefacts in the exhibition that opens for a four-month run in London’s Science Museum on May 16, is a personal travel document belonging to 63-year-old emigrant Marian Meanwell.
“Marian had been due to travel to New York on the Majestic, but the sailing was cancelled and she was transferred to the Titanic because there was a coal strike at the time and there was not enough fuel for both voyages,” Lach said.
“The ticket has her name with the ship Majestic crossed out and Titanic stamped over it,” he added.“You can imagine her excitement.” She did not survive the sinking.
Lach dismissed charges of grave-robbing.
“The exhibition brings the ship alive to the public. There is no disrespect to those who died in the wreck. Quite the reverse,” he said, stressing that nothing had been taken from the ship itself but only from the debris around it.
Lach noted items — including paper — encased in leather had survived remarkably well despite spending nine decades at the bottom of the ocean because the chemicals used in the tanning process helped retard rotting.