On the day and time that RMS Titanic dropped anchor in Cork Harbour over 101 years ago (Thursday 11 April 1912), a poignant collection of a number of passengers and survivors of the luxury liner’s maiden voyage was unveiled at the Titanic Experience, the permanent visitor attraction in Cobh, Co. Cork.
Among the items that will be on permanent display at the Titanic Experience Cobh is a beautiful 20th century blue leather suitcase, purchased at Harrods for the journey on board Titanic. The suitcase was the personal property of Mrs. Lily Odell, a first class passenger on board the ill-fated ship. Lily Odell traveled with some members of her family, including her son, Jack and sister in law, Kate and her two brothers, Richard and Stanley May. The Odell family party disembarked the Titanic at Queenstown, now Cobh, and collected a hire car from Johnson & Perrott Motors to travel around the south of Ireland.
Managing Director of the Titanic Experience Cobh, which is located in the original White Star Line building, Gillen Joyce said, “We endeavor to make the Titanic Experience as authentic as possible in providing information about Titanic, and depicting the story of the passengers on board. With this in mind, we felt that it was vital to include artifacts from the liner to ensure a true visitor experience here in the original White Star Line building in Cobh. We are delighted that our hard work has paid off and it is an honour for us to have the Odell Collection exhibited here at the Titanic Experience”.
On hand to formally open the exhibition was Tommy Barker, property editor of the Irish Examiner and grandson and namesake of Thomas Barker, the Cork Examiner photographer who captured some of the best known images of RMS Titanic and her Irish passengers while in Cobh.
There are a number of photographs in the Odell collection, including the original photo postcard showing Titanic survivors, Millvina Dean as a baby, with her brother Bertram in a pram and their mother, Eva. Another photograph shows young Jack Odell, in a Star Laudaulette automobile hired from Johnson and Perrott with Mr May (Lily Odell’s brother) and their luggage.
A hand painted and signed French silk lace and mother of pearl fan in its original silk covered box used on board the Titanic is also on loan to the collection by Titanic Experience Historian, Vincent McMahon.
Titanic Experience Historian, Vincent McMahon gave a short talk at the unveiling of the Odell collection, which took place at 1.30 pm to coincide with ‘Titanic’ weighing anchor on this day on Thursday, 11th April 1912, 101 years ago. McMahon described the journey of the Odell family who traveled on board ‘Titanic’ on the 10th and 11th April 1912.
“The loss of Titanic with so many lives has always been a very sad story. Today we recall the passengers on board. It is a privilege to exhibit items carried on board Titanic on that voyage from Southampton via Cherbourg to Queenstown. The Titanic Experience Cobh looks forward to keeping their memory alive through this Odell collection going on display today.” added McMahon.