This time these concerns are in The Independent rather than my head. Read the article here.
Nigel Hampson (curator of the Titanic in Lancashire museum, where most of my photos are from) expresses some of the same concerns I do, mainly about the inventory taken when Wallace Hartley’s body was recovered. Nigel is quoted as saying:
“The historical record does not show that Wallace was recovered with his violin strapped to his body - it actually proves the opposite. The inventory of items recovered on Wallace’s body makes no mention whatsoever of a violin or music case or anything similar being found with him. We are supposed to believe that when the ship sinks and everyone, the band included, are fighting for their lives, Wallace is more concerned with the fate of his instrument than his life?”
And I totally agree with what he’s saying. I don’t own anything that I would save over my life. A violin can be replaced but your life can’t.
I’m not entirely comfortable with what Alan Aldridge has said however it am aware it may have been taken out of context:
“Mr Hampson isn’t privy to the knowledge of what we’ve got,” he told The Independent. “Museums, exhibitions are very interested and want it. These are the people we need to convince. I don’t mind open debate but this is just malicious and it’s defamatory.”
Knowing Nigel Hampson as regular visitor to the Titanic in Lancashire Museum and having some lengthy discussions with him about many different aspects of Titanic I can’t imagine his comment as malicious or trying to be harmful, he has a lot of knowledge about Wallace Hartley and his life and he’s working and has worked very hard to spread the truth about Titanic and dispel any false truths.
I am also extremely concerned about this:
Among collectors the discovery of the violin is already causing excitement. It is due to go on display in Belfast City Hall next month and will likely be auctioned later this year.
This is VERY soon to be selling an object that would make a hell of a lot more money touring museums than being kept in a private collection and as someone who’s done a fair amount of research on Wallace Hartley (and the Titanic) I’d like the opportunity to have a good look myself.
It looks as though this debate could go on for a while and it may never be resolved.
*Edit here* Another historian has more concerns here. Nigel Hampson has also commented below.