THE story of the RMS Titanic and her maiden voyage will be brought to life at a new museum set to open in Colne – home to the ship’s famous band leader.
Maritime enthusiast Nigel Hampson is putting the finishing touches to the Titanic in Lancashire Museum. Located in the old Colne Grammar School, off Albert Road, the museum will tell the story of the Titanic through models, photographs and documentary films.
Visitors will be able to read all about the doomed White Star Liner in the museum’s reference library.
And they will have a chance to get a close-up look at fittings identical to those seen on the Titanic – from its sister ship the RMS Olympic.
The stories of the 71 Lancashire people who were on board the doomed vessel will be given pride of place.
Specifically, there will be a section devoted to Wallace Hartley, the Colne bandmaster who famously played on as the ship sank in 1912.
Nigel, a founder member of the British Titanic Society, who lives in Brierfield, has been running mobile exhibitions for 18 months, but wanted a permanent base. The Rev Tony Rindl offered the use of part of the old grammar school, now known as the parish rooms Nigel, 42, said: “I always wanted it to be based in Colne because of that link with Wallace Hartley, but I never thought we’d be lucky enough to get it established here. Tony said he had a building that was doing nothing and that was in need of a revamp, so he gave it to us and it will be our permanent base.”
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, as well as the 200th anniversary of the old Colne Grammar School.
Nigel is hoping to add to a number of celebratory events already planned in the town. And he said the museum could help boost the local economy by attracting more tourists to the borough.
He said: “I’m hoping it will help with tourism. Every year enthusiasts come to Colne to visit the Wallace Hartley memorial before heading up to the cemetery to see his grave.
“People come from all over the country for that reason alone, but then there’s nowhere else for them to go. I’m hoping this will give them an extra port of call to enjoy and soak up a bit more of the atmosphere.”
Nigel is planning to open the Titanic in Lancashire Museum by the end of the month. It will be open seven days a week, from 10am until 6pm.
Entry will cost £2 for adults and £1 for children, with the money going towards the general running costs and acquisition of artefacts.
Nigel is asking people to donate white sheets to help while the refurbishment takes place. Call 07999 268680.