Bandmaster of the Titanic
Wallace Hartley was born in Colne on 2nd June 1878 and lived at 92 Greenfield Hill (Greenfield Road). He was introduced to the violin at George Street Wesleyan School, Colne.
His musical talent secured him a position as bandmaster for the White Star Line (now Cunard) and at the age of 33 he was asked to play on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, a new super liner which was described as 'unsinkable'.
When The Titantic struck the iceberg at 11:40pm on April 14th 1912, Wallace Hartley gathered his musicians together in the first class lounge to keep the passengers' spirits up with ragtime and other cheerful music.
Later, when all hope of saving the ship was lost, the band moved onto the deck itself. A number of passengers described hearing the hymn "Nearer my God to thee" around the time the ship sank and it quickly became a legend that this was the last tune the band played.
The bandsmen showed great bravery during the 2 hours and 40 minutes the Titanic took to sink. There is no record of of any one of them attempting to enter a lifeboat and their efforts calmed many passengers. Not one of the band was saved in the disaster which claimed 1,502 lives.
The body of Wallace Hartley was brought back to Colne in May and 40,000 people lined the streets to see him to his final resting place in Colne Cemetery.
In 1915 the town of Colne honoured its most famous son by erecting this statue in his memory from public subscription. In 1992 two bronze statuettes representing valour and music were stolen from the statue. These were restored by Pendle Council in April 1996.
The Statue of Wallace Hartley