Wallace Hartley’s violin is coming home.
One of the most iconic musical instruments in the world will be in Kirklees later this month.
It is the violin played by the former Huddersfield and Dewsbury musician on the fateful night that the Titanic sank in 1912.
It will go on show at a special one-day exhibition in Dewsbury on October 14 before going up for auction, when it is expected to fetch a huge price.
Following last week’s launch of the new Wallace Hartley bandstand in Dewsbury, the exhibition featuring the violin will be at Dewsbury Town Hall and open to the public between 11.40am and 6pm.
Hartley, violinist and bandmaster on the Titanic, member of Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra and local resident famously led the eight-member band as the ship sank on April 14, 1912.
His German violin was an engagement gift from his fiance Maria and can be seen along with the leather luggage case, initialled W. H. H. (Wallace Henry Hartley), in which Wallace placed the violin before going into the cold North Atlantic. Music sheets recovered at sea after the sinking of the Titanic will also be on display at this event.
Clr Darren O’Donovan said: “This exhibition provides an opportunity to view what has been described by the auctioneer as the ‘Holy Grail’ of Titanic memorabilia prior to the exhibits being auctioned.
“It is a unique opportunity for people across the region to view Wallace Hartley’s violin. We are very fortunate that we have been presented with this opportunity due to the local connection to Wallace and I hope that local residents will come along to experience a slice of history on their doorstep.”
Andrew Aldridge, a surveyor with Henry Aldridge and Son Auctioneer, will be selling the violin on October 19.
He said: “The Wallace Hartley Titanic violin is one of the most iconic collectables from the 20th century.
“Bandleader Hartley was an incredibly brave man whose actions helped to calm passengers during Titanic’s last hours.
“The violin has attracted interest from collectors all over the world especially after its recent successful three month exhibition in the United States where more than 315,000 enthusiasts viewed it.
“It then moved onto Titanic Belfast for a further exhibition and after being approached by Kirklees Council, we felt it only appropriate that the violin come home to Yorkshire and the town where Wallace Hartley chose to live for one last time”.
l Entry into the exhibition is free, but is ticketed (max 4 tickets per booking). Tickets are available from 9am on Tuesday October 8. To book online: www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls or collect from Dewsbury Town Hall Booking Office