The last lunch menu that first-class passengers enjoyed on the day the ship struck an iceberg is currently on display in Gallery 5 - The Maiden Voyage.
The rare artefact, believed to have been bought for $122,000 (€94,300), has been generously loaned to Titanic Belfast by Rupert Hunt, owner of Spareroom.com who bought it from the Dodge family, who had it in their possession since the ship went down.
The luncheon menu belonged to passenger Ruth Dodge, the wife of Dr Washington Dodge.
On its reverse, a hand-written note from a ship steward, who knew the family, reads,
“With compliments & best wishes from Frederic Dent Ray, 56 Palmer Park, Reading, Berks.”
This was a very fortuitous friendship as it was Mr Ray who ensured the Dodge family on board the Titanic survived the disaster. Mr Ray was a steward who had been ordered to take charge of one of the Titanic’s lifeboats, with 30 children aboard. While the rule was women and children first, the steward, who knew Dr Dodge from previous voyages, encouraged him into the lifeboat to help the distressed youngsters. His wife and son had already left the ship on another lifeboat.