Old picture could be of Titanic’s hero bandleader

Antique fan, Martin Roberts is pictured with his partner, Rachel King, holding what is believed to be a photographic portrait of ill fated band leader, Wallace Hartley, who went down on the Titanic. picture mike cowling april 5 2012

Antique fan, Martin Roberts is pictured with his partner, Rachel King, holding what is believed to be a photographic portrait of ill fated band leader, Wallace Hartley, who went down on the Titanic. picture mike cowling april 5 2012

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An old picture discovered in a house clearance in Harrogate could soon be sold at auction after it emerged that its subject could be Titanic band leader Wallace Hartley.

Relic hunter Martin Roberts, 53, from Leeds, chanced upon the black and white image after buying a box of items for £55 from a house clearance in Harrogate.

He was about to sell the picture for 50p at a car boot sale until he realised its significance.

“I was at Clithero car boot sale about a year ago and I had it on the table for £1, until this lady came up to me and asked what I was doing with a picture of Wallace Hartley,” he said. “I didn’t even know who he was.”

Mr Roberts may not have known of the infamous band-leader, who instructed his musicians to play on even as the Titanic sank but he sensed enough to remove the picture from sale in order to research it further.

“I did some research and I found that Hartley was involved with a lady called Marie Robinson, who came from Boston Spa,” said Mr Roberts. “He had himself lived in Harrogate and when he died, some of his belongings went with her and she moved to Bridlington. When she died of cancer in 1939, they went to her sister, who still lived in Harrogate.

“It is my belief these pictures were part of a collection which included the Hartley picture. Buyers will make their own minds up about the picture, of course, but there are some things on there which lend credence to the notion that this is Wallace Hartley - he has a pinky ring, which he was known to have worn, the clothing and furniture are of the period and he looked like him.”

The Dublin auction will take place on November 10.