October 22, 2016, 1:00 PM BST
Devizes, United Kingdom
Lot 228: **R.M.S. OLYMPIC/TITANIC - BELFAST TITANIC-OLYMPIC HARLAND & WOLF
Estimate: £700 - £1,200
Description: **R.M.S. OLYMPIC/TITANIC - BELFAST TITANIC-OLYMPIC HARLAND & WOLFF COLLECTION RIVET Charlotte E. Irwin (née Brennan) was 20 years old and a secretary at the drafting offices at Harland & Wolff when Titanic was being built. During her tenure, she was privy to much of the day-to-day workings of the Olympic Class liners and acquired simply stellar original snapshot photographs of the people and places important in Titanic's construction and launch. These items were acquired via descent by Ms. Irwin's daughter, who passed away last year. In its April 2016 auction Henry Aldridge & Son was privileged to offer Irwin's Titanic VIP Launch ticket stub and a unique photograph of the Harland and Wolff drawing room with the Titanic model in attendance! We are now delighted to offer this exceptionally well-provenanced original rivet head from the Olympic. On September 20th 1911 Olympic was in a collision with the H.M.S. Hawke off the Isle of Wight requiring her to return to Belfast for repairs. February 1912 would also see the Olympic back in Belfast for repairs. These incidents required workers assigned to Titanic's construction to divert their attention to Olympic causing a delay in Titanic's completion. Irwin had written a letter explaining that she was present for the launches of Titanic and Olympic and how she received this rivet head in 1912 when it was still red hot. Rivets are heated as part of the construction process before they are placed in the steel hull plates. We know of no example of any rivet head with such exceptional provenance as it comes from the family of the employee who obtained it at the time. Also, the lot is accompanied by the original handwritten letter signed by the very Harland and Wolff employee who acquired it while it was still hot! The rivet head measures approximately 2½ins. long and is quite heavy for its size.