On Oct. 29 Henry Aldridge & Son will hold an auction near Bath, England, with a rare Titanic deck plan owned by an elderly couple in first class who died when the doomed liner sank. The deck plans were given to first class passengers when they purchased their tickets for the Titanic.
It is believed only three of them from the ship exist today, with two in private collections and this one now on the open market. Ida and Isidore Straus, to whom the plan belonged, drowned side by side after Mrs Straus refused a place on a lifeboat to remain with her husband. The plan was in the possession of the Straus’ maid Ellen Bird who survived the disaster in which 1,495 people were lost. She kept hold of the 41×29 inch document for the rest of her life and it has now been put up for auction by the current private owner.
in the Hollywood movie, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, artistic licence was used to show the devoted couple cuddling up together on their bed. In the emotive scene, Mr Straus gives his wife a kiss on the cheek while their stateroom floods.
Despite its age and fragile condition the delicate piece of tissue paper has remained in one piece over the last 99 years. It has been given a pre-sale estimate of between £40,000 to £50,000 ($63,00 – $79,000). The deck plan, that folds down to a booklet, is headed White Star Line, Southampton-Cherbourg-New York Service, First Class Accommodation, and its reverse shows the layout of the top five decks that made up the first class accommodation and facilities like the restaurants, swimming baths, gymnasium and squash courts.
Each room is numbered in red ink and the plan is incredibly detailed, marking out the beds, washbasins and wardrobes inside. Pencilled notations made by Miss Bird, who marked with a cross her suit of C97 which was next door to the suite occupied by John Farthing -Mr Straus’ man servant who died in the disaster, still exist on the plan. The plan also includes several printed photos of some of the onboard facilities as well as a list of them and directions and instructions for the passengers.