There have been a number of events taking place this week to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. A few days ago we posted a piece about the response from people in Brighton. News of the tragedy was met with public expressions of shock and grief, but a more muted personal reaction can be seen in this letter found in Preston Manor last year by our Museums Learning Officer, Paula Wrightson.
The letter was written by John Lane, a publisher, and sent to Charles Thomas-Stanford, one of the last owners of the manor. Thomas-Stanford had recently published a novel, The Ace of Hearts, and the letter was a covering note for a review of the book published by the New York Times. Understandably, Lane could not resist the temptation to mention his lucky escape.
Dear Mr Stanford,
I am sending you the last number of the New York Times which I have just received, in which you will find a review of your book and also an advertisement of it, see back.
I was pressed by Mr. Harry Widener to go on the Titanic two weeks ago. Fortunately I elected to sail later and I go on the Lusitania on Saturday next. I shall be away about five weeks, but if anything turns up with regard to your book, I have instructed my people in my absence.
With kind regards,