BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 June 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Legacies - Lancashire

BBC Homepage
 UK Index
Your stories
 Site Info
 BBC History
 Where I Live

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Myths and Legends
Titanic, Southampton

© Mary Evans Picture Library
Wallace Hartley: Bandmaster of the Titanic

One of the most evocative and emotive legends which arose from the Titanic disaster is the image of the band playing on while the liner sank and over 1500 people drowned. Lancashire lad Wallace Hartley was leading that band when Titanic went down, and has become one of Titanic’s most famous characters. His exhumed corpse received a hero’s welcome when it returned to his home town of Colne.

In the aftermath of Titanic’s sinking, the media’s manipulation of Hartley’s story reveals much about what the British public wanted to have happened, rather than what actually took place. The crux of this manipulation is disagreements over the last song Hartley is alleged to have played. Though trustworthy accounts say it was a jolly, rag-time tune, instead the sombre hymn ‘Nearer, My God, To Thee’ was adopted as the soundtrack to the final moments of Titanic. More...

Read More Picture Gallery

Your comments

1 Borislav Neshev from Bulgaria - 28 December 2003
"I don't know. I think that we must to make discoveries abouth TITANIC. It is beautiful."

2 Serena from New Zealand with Lancashire roots!! - 18 December 2003
"I read somewhere that Wallace Hartley and Sir William Hartley pickles are related, how so?"

Print this page
Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

Read more >
Internet Links
Titanic Historical Society
Southampton Titanic
Britannica Titanic
RMS Titanic
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.
South East Wales
Detail of Geoffrey, from the Geoffrey Tapesty at Monmouth Priory
Related Stories
Grace Darling, Victorian superstar
The forgotten Braveheart
John Andrews: King of the Smugglers

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy