The poster depicts the eight professional musicians who were employed to provide on board musical entertainment for the ships passengers (playing requests for up to 12 hours a day from a song book containing over 350 titles). As the ship sank it was reported that they continued to play, their final tune the hymn ‘Nearer my God to Thee.’ Selling over 80,000 copies in the months following the disaster the poster was one example of the extraordinary public response to the sinking of the Titanic, another musical response being a huge benefit concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 24 May 1912 which featured seven full orchestras.
The pages of the union’s journal in the months following the disaster provide detailed reports about the heroic actions of the musicians and the efforts made by the union and others to provide compensation for their families, compensation which was not forthcoming from the ship’s owners the White Star Line. The musicians were employed by an agency called Black Brothers, who supplied musicians to ocean liners, and were not technically ship’s employees. As well as being denied compensation from the White Star Line the family of the violinist John Law Hume also received a letter from Black Brothers demanding they pay the balance of the money he owed for his uniform. While reporting on the insults suffered by the families of the deceased the journal also records the huge sums of money raised by its members for its special Titanic fund, along with the various tributes made and memorials unveiled across the country to their fellow musicians.
Thousands of underwater pictures were taken during the 1986 Titanic expedition. In later trips to the deep, artifacts would be recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic. In total, more than 5,000 pieces would be recovered from the wreckage site. Today, the wreckage of the Titanic is considered by many to be a memorial to the lives of the 1,522 people who died when the ship sank on an early spring morning in 1912.
Today, the world no longer has to wonder what the Titanic looked like. Titanic pictures in 1912 reveal a world class luxury liner, filled with passengers excited to be journeying on the ship's maiden voyage. The final image of the Titanic became complete when Titanic underwater pictures were published sixty years later.
A survivor of the RMS Titanic claims, perhaps apocryphally, that 'Nearer, My God, to Thee' was the final song performed aboard the sinking Titanic, but questions remain as to which, if any, of the hymn's three popular settings ('Bethany,' 'Hornbury,' and 'Propior Deo') was played.