It was at 11.40pm on April 14, 1912 that RMS Titanic hit an iceberg four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
Less than three hours later the ship, dubbed ‘unsinkable’ by its owners, had done just that with the loss of 1,503 passengers and crew.
Now, elements of the last dinner many of the 2,200 passengers and crew were ever to eat will form the centrepiece of the special Titanic Centenary Banquet at Newcastle’s Centre for Life in Times Square on, appropriately, April 14 this year – 100 years after the fateful disaster.
Hosting the evening will be Life’s head of education, Noel Jackson, who guided by contemporary reports and historical evidence, will share fascinating anecdotes which put the food and Titanic’s passengers into context.
The narrated dinner will also touch on the social history of the time as well as a little science.
Noel, who is deciding whether to don his best first class dining bib and tucker or an authentic captain’s uniform for the evening, says: “I’ll be talking about the construction of the ship, the communications systems, the weather forecasting methods of the time and we’ll be doing a few playful science experiments at the table.
“It would be churlish not to talk about iceberg construction, destruction and displacement!
“One hundred years ago we were at the height of the British Empire. The social emphasis was on our Britishness and our close European and Russian Royal family ties. The class system was very firmly in place and a post Second World War song by Flanders and Swann ‘The English are best, I wouldn’t give tuppence for all the rest,’ totally personifies the mood.
“Of the mood on board the Titanic? Think Downton Abbey at sea,” Noel concludes.
With champagne and canapés on arrival, the menu, much of it locally sourced, of a terrine, a consommé, a salmon dish, a palate cleanser, lamb and an extravagant sweet, with especially chosen wines to accompany, has been created by Chef Colin Bowden as reminiscent, in terms of presentation and taste, of the original bill of fare.
The Titanic Centenary Banquet will be held on April 14 at Life between 7.30pm-1am and costs £60 per person. To book call 0191 243 8216 or go to www.life.org.uk