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Wallace Hartley Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Colne, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.8557 / 53°51'20"N

Longitude: -2.1765 / 2°10'35"W

OS Eastings: 388488

OS Northings: 439956

OS Grid: SD884399

Mapcode National: GBR FR7V.LL

Mapcode Global: WHB7R.JBSZ

Entry Name: Wallace Hartley Memorial

Listing Date: 11 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1423584

Location: Colne, Pendle, Lancashire, BB8

County: Lancashire

District: Pendle

Civil Parish: Colne

Built-Up Area: Colne

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Colne St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Monument. 1915, The Bromsgrove Guild. Bronze statues with white, Portland stone pedestal.


Monument. 1915, The Bromsgrove Guild. Bronze statues with white, Portland stone pedestal.

PLAN: tall, square pedestal topped by bronze portrait bust with two small flanking, seated figures.

DESCRIPTION: the tall, square, Portland stone pedestal has a deep, moulded base. Above this the four faces taper slightly inwards culminating in a moulded band above which is a tall, concave-shaped base which supports the bronze portrait bust of Wallace Hartley. He is portrayed as head and shoulders and wears a jacket, waistcoat, shirt and tie. Seated on the stone base to each side is a small bronze allegorical figure wearing flowing robes. The left-hand figure represents Music and holds a lyre. The right-hand figure represents Valour and holds a mask and wreath. The front face of the stone pedestal has a dedication using leaded lettering. It reads WALLACE / HARTLEY / BANDMASTER OF / THE R.M.S. TITANIC / WHO PERISHED IN / THE FOUNDERING OF THAT VESSEL / APRIL 15TH 1912 / ERECTED BY VOLUNTARY / CONTRIBUTIONS TO COM- / MEMORATE THE HEROISM / OF A NATIVE OF THIS / TOWN. The pedestal stands on a plinth of two steps formed of concrete blocks.


Wallace Henry Hartley was the band leader on the RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage in 1912. He had been born in Colne in 1878, to a mill manager and his wife, a worsted weaver. He learnt to play the violin at school, becoming a professional musician in 1901. In 1909 Hartley began working as a musician on Cunard Line ocean liners, primarily the RMS Mauretania. On 9 April 1912 Hartley was asked by the musical agents C W and R N Black to become the band leader on the White Star Line's RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage to New York. He accepted although he was initially reluctant as the imminent departure meant he was unable to see his fiancée, Maria Robinson, whom he intended to marry in the summer.

On 14th April the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg with disastrous consequences. While passengers were evacuated the band gathered to play to allay panic. Later reports stated that the musicians played continuously during the two-hour evacuation, later confirmed at the British inquiry. At 2.20 am on 15 April the Titanic sank with the loss of just over 1,500 lives, among them Hartley and his seven bandsmen. Early accounts of the disaster reported that the band's final performance was the hymn tune 'Nearer, my God, to Thee', though other witnesses disputed this. However, the moving tableau of the Titanic's musicians playing 'Nearer, my God, to thee' was widely promoted in reports, memorials, and commemorative and commemorative songs, poems, and sheet music. It made heroes of the band members, particularly Hartley.

On 28 April Wallace Hartley's body was recovered with his violin case strapped to him. He was returned to Liverpool and was then buried at Colne cemetery on 18th May 1912. 1,000 people were said to have attended the service with another 30,000 to 40,000 lining the route of his funeral procession.

In 1915 a monument was erected in Colne town centre to commemorate Wallace Hartley. It was paid for by voluntary contributions and was designed by The Bromsgrove Guild, well known for their Arts and Crafts designs in a number of mediums including iron work, stained glass, plasterwork and garden statuary. Amongst their more prominent commissions were the wrought-iron gates of Buckingham Palace and the Liver birds of the Royal Liver Assurance Building in Liverpool.

In 1992 the bronze allegorical figures of Valour and Music which flank the portrait bust were stolen. They were recast when Pendle Council restored the monument in 1996.

Reasons for Listing

The Wallace Hartley monument in Colne of 1915 by the Bromsgrove Guild is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: Wallace Hartley was the band leader on RMS Titanic who reached world-wide fame as a hero of the tragedy when it was reported that the band continued to play as the ship sank on her maiden voyage, resulting in the loss of life of all the musicians, a moving tableau of selfless sacrifice which captured the public imagination then and now;
* Location: Hartley was a Colne man and this monument was paid for by voluntary contributions from the local population, the celebrity and esteem in which his selfless actions were held demonstrated in the quality of the memorial subsequently commissioned;
* Design: the monument was designed by the well-regarded Bromsgrove Guild and presents a handsome tribute incorporating a finely executed and cast bronze portrait bust of Wallace Hartley on a tall, Portland stone pedestal.

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