Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Embroidered ‘RW’
Length: 67 inches (approx)
Width: 59 inches (approx)
The dense weave heavy woollen bunting deep royal blue blanket with embroidered scarlet horizontal stripe running through, emblazoned in joined scripted white stitch; ‘White Star Line’, the blanket also having a red cross and initials RW to one corner, surviving from the first quarter of the twentieth century.
The blanket is in super original order with no tears or rips or signs of infestation with the stitching and colours all in super condition. There are three or four holes to the blanket, two of them in corners where it has obviously been hung for display.
We know from records that the 1st and 2nd class blankets were of tartan check in design and this particular design was for 3rd class or tourists. Blankets like these were emblazoned with the liners name partly to discourage theft and there were also differing blankets for bedrooms. In the first half of the 20th century, a typical Olympic class ocean liner, which had a maximum capacity of approximately 3,500 passengers and crew, would have carried at least woollen 7,000 blankets and 3,500 bed covers, together with several thousand linen sheets and pillow cases. Third Class passengers were essential to the prosperity of transatlantic travel. The public areas and room accommodations for the 1,100 immigrant travelers aboard Titanic were considered to be the best of the early 20th century ocean liners. The accommodation found in Third Class onboard Titanic for instance was equal to those found in Second Class of many other rival steamship companies. We believe some of the White Star line’s blankets would have been supplied by mills in Witney, Oxfordshire
The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company or White Star Line of Boston Packets, more commonly known as just White Star Line, was a highly prominent British shipping company, today most famous for its ill-fated vessel, the RMS Titanic, and the World War I loss of Titanic's sister ship Britannic. In 1934 the line merged with its chief rival, Cunard Line, which operated as a separate entity until 2005 and is now part of Carnival Corporation & PLC. As a lasting reminder of the White Star Line, modern Cunard ships use the term White Star Service to describe the impeccable level of customer care expected of the company. Owned by the White Star Line, RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world when she set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, U.S.A., on 10 April 1912. Four days into the crossing, at 23:40 on 14 April 1912, she struck an iceberg and sank at 2:20 the following morning, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. This blanket was made in and around the time of the Titanic’s sinking but it is unclear how many different types of blanket were onboard. Some further research of the former owner RW would be warranted, and also the meaning of the red stitched cross.
Not many of these blankets have survived, especially in this condition, and this is therefore a rare artefact and proves to be a scarce chance to own a piece of White Star Line history.