Titanic donation is worth ‘small fortune’

Linda Ballingall
Linda Ballingall

A DONOR to a forthcoming Glenrothes exhibition received a pleasant financial surprise, reports MIKE DELANEY.

Glenrothes and Area Heritage Centre are staging the show next month to mark the centenary of the sinking of the ‘Titanic’, focusing on the part played in the disaster by the Countess of Rothes.

Foundress Linda Ballingall has been steadily collecting material for the exhibition, which will be held in the Kingdom Centre.

She explained: “I attended a Fife Rotary Club to collect an original 1900s life-belt for display during the exhibition.

“The same source offering loan of the life-belt suddenly remembered that many years ago he’d purchased a Scottish castle, acquiring a 12 piece Titanic dinner service - not a replica but the real thing made in 1912, in the process.

“Obviously ‘Titanic’ was not expected to sink, so spares were made of everything in the event of breakages.

“He offered to sell it to me for £200, but after I researched it and told him it’s value - agreed instead to allow GAHC to display it during the exhibition and thereafter put it in his vault.

“This dinner service, made for the use of those in first class, is worth a fortune, and has lain in his garage for a very long time.

The actual value of the dinner service is not being disclosed, but Linda pointed out that a replica item, made for the hit 1997, was recently valued at £4,500.”

It isn’t the only surprising nugget of information which Linda has uncoverd while on her travels.

She explained: “Whilst discussing the exhibition, another Rotarian offered the information that she was the great-grand-daughter of the seaman who spotted the ice-berg from the crow’s nest on the ‘Titanic’.

It made me wonder if there was anyone else out there with family connections to the event?

The exhibition begins on April 7 and will run for a fortnight.

It is being held in the same mall unit where GAHC held a highly-successful exhibition in 2010.

The new exhibition is also aimed at raising awareness of their plans to open a permanent heritage centre in Glenrothes and will feature the first public viewing of the journal kept by the Countess on the ship which rescued her from the lifeboat she had taken refuge in after the liner sank on April 15, 1912.

mike.delaney@fifetoday.co.uk

01592 753205