THE last ever letter written on Titanic in which a passenger wrote of the “wonderful” journey her family had enjoyed has surfaced after 102 years.
The letter, on Titanic headed notepaper, was penned just hours before the doomed liner struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1,522 lives.
It was meant to have been posted by Esther Hart after the ship docked but was kept by the author, who survived the disaster along with her young daughter Eva.
The incredible note is the only known surviving letter written on the fateful day – Sunday, April 14, 1912. It is now expected to sell for £100,000 at auction.
Esther, whose husband Benjamin died in the tragedy, wrote to her mother back in England that afternoon.
She said: “The sailors say we have had a wonderful passage up to now. There has been no tempest. It is very nice weather but awfully windy and cold.”
She also stated how the ship was likely to arrive in New York 12 hours ahead of schedule due to the speed it was travelling at – one of the factors the led it to hit the iceberg.
An extract from the letter
Mrs Hart, from Ilford, Essex, revealed an onboard concert in aid of the Sailors’ Home in Southampton that was due to take place the following night.
And she apologised for her handwriting being “a screw” as it was due to the Titanic rolling and “shakes my arm”.
After Titanic struck the iceberg in the north Atlantic Benjamin Hart, a second class passenger, woke his wife and daughter and guided them to lifeboat 14.
The letter was found in the pocket of Benjamin’s sheepskin coat which he gave to his wife to keep her warm.
When Esther arrived in New York with Eva she sent a cable to her parents to confirm they were safe but her husband was missing.
Eva Hart became one of the most well-known survivors of Titanic, mainly because of her out-|spoken criticism of White Star Line for failing to provide enough lifeboats.
The Hart family returns to England
At the time of the Titanic disaster the Hart family were emigrating to Winnipeg, Canada, where they were going to run a chemists.
Esther and Eva returned to England and lived in Chadwell Heath, east London.
Esther died in 1928 aged 65. Eva went on to become a magistrate and died in 1996 aged 91.
The two page letter is now being sold by auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son, of Devizes, Wiltshire, on behalf of a private collector, who bought it from the Hart family around 20 years ago.
The auction takes place on April 26.