15 Apr 2021
November 7, 2013 - Filed under: History of Antiques — Richard

The luggage of Mary Roberts, who survived when the Titanic sank in 1912 and again when the Rohilla ran aground in 1914, has been secured by the curator of the Whitby Lifeboat Museum.

As the 99th anniversary of the Rohilla disaster was commemorated, Roberts’ luggage – which had been presumed missing – turned up on eBay.

When the Titanic began to sink, Mary Roberts reached safety in a lifeboat that was rescued by the Carpathia. Two years later, she signed up to work as a nurse on a hospital ship, the Rohilla. The steamship hit rocks near Whitby while travelling to collect the wounded from Dunkirk, and the ship broke in two.

The luggage of Mary Roberts – a tin box with wooden struts – was presumed lost at sea with so many other items. A friend of Pete Thompson, the Whitby Lifeboat Museum’s curator, informed him that the trunk had been spotted on eBay and he immediately contacted the seller, who sold it to the museum for £50.

The history of the trunk following the sinking of the steamship remains unknown, although it is presumed that the luggage was found among the rocks sometime after the disaster. The trunk was discovered during a house clearance this year.

Thompson has informed Mary Roberts’ living relations, who didn’t know about the lost trunk.

Collectors of antiques often work hard to piece together the history of an item. This is especially the case with antique furniture, which may have passed down through generations of a family. A selection of pieces can be viewed and purchased, including antique chests, in Cumbria.

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