What Does A First Class Dinner On The Titanic Look Like?

By Charlie Colville

8 months ago

An upcoming auction gives us a clue

Despite having sunk to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean back in 1912, the treasures of the Titanic continue to be unearthed as time goes on. And now, in an upcoming auction, we can get an even closer look at what life was like for first class passengers on the ocean liner – more that 110 years after the ship’s infamous sinking. This is what was on the menu for first class passengers of the RMS Titanic.

This Auction Shows Us How First Class Passengers Dined Onboard The Titanic

Ever wondered how the other half live? In the case of the Titanic, now you don’t have to – thanks to an auction showcasing a first class menu from the ship’s one and only voyage.

Old menu

A first class dinner menu from the RMS Titanic, dated 11 April 1912 (c) Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd

The menu in question, which dates to 11 April 1912 – just four days before the ship’s sinking – was served to diners just after the Titanic left its final stop, Queenstown, on the way to New York. The only surviving example of a first class menu from this date, the paper shows some signs of wear and tear, with partially erased text (courtesy of a run-in with the icy North Atlantic waters) and a faded, embossed red White Star Line burgee. It’s also thought that the menu would have also originally shown gilt lettering depicting the initials OSNC (Ocean Steamship Navigation Company).

Characterised by French fine dining, the menu is packed with fancy classics that hint at the more lavish conditions experienced by first class passengers. Kicking off with a selection of hors d’oeuvre variés, including oysters, ‘consommé renaissance’ (a savoury broth or soup made with egg whites) and ‘crème d’asperges’ (asparagus soup), the menu also features a series of starters and mains spanning from salmon with hollandaise and tornados of beef to sirloin steak and roast chicken. And as for dessert, passengers were given an option of Victoria pudding (a fruit-laden boiled pudding), ‘apricots bordaloue’ (a type of tart) and ‘petits mocka’ (we think this might be some kind of coffee cake?), with a scoop of French ice cream to finish off the meal.

Auction Of Titanic, White Star and Transport Memorabilia

The menu will be part of a larger auction, comprised of almost 300 lots, hosted by Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd in Devizes, Wiltshire. Taking place on 11 November 2023, the auction will feature various transport-themed memorabilia – with an emphasis on the RMS Titanic, of course.

Pocket watch and blanket

A pocket watch and blanket being sold in the upcoming auction (c) Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd

Other items listed for sale include a deck blanket estimated to fetch anywhere between £70,000 and £100,000 at auction, which the auction house believes travelled with a Titanic survivor to New York via the rescue ship RMS Carpathia, as well as a pocket watch retrieved from second class passenger Sinai Kantor, which has been valued between £50,000 and £80,000.

Want to get involved? You can browse auction lots and put your bids on at henryaldridge.com

Featured image: K. Mitch Hodge, Unsplash