Hugh Brewster from Toronto, who has recently a published a new book about the first class passengers on the Titanic ‘Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage’, came to Fairford especially to talk to members about Fairford’’s connection with the Titanic, the Countess of Rothes. She lived at Fayre Court, Fairford for a time and there is a memorial to her in St Mary’s Church. Hugh had been speaking at the Broadway Festival on Francis D Millet, the painter of Carnation Lily, Lily, Rose who painted the work in Broadway, Worcestershire. He has also written a charming children’s book entitled Carnation Lily, Lily, Rose which has references to our own Edwin Abbey, the artist who lived at Morgan Hall, Fairford. Francis Millet also died on the Titanic. Hugh gave the audience a riveting, well illustrated talk about his longstanding connection with the Titanic. As a publisher he was involved with Dr Robert Ballard in the discovery of the location of the wreckage on the ocean floor and published a book on the subject. He sold his publishing house to become a full time writer but it seemed he was always drawn back to the topic of the Titanic. He wrote a book in connection with the blockbuster film which came out and in 1997 and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking in April 2012, he produced his latest book. He has delved in the greatest depth about the social lives of this elite Edwardian set of first class passengers and their interactions which each other.
The talk reviewed the Titanic’s fatal voyage and the subsequent rescue of the survivors. It was a highly entertaining and informative talk and we are grateful to Hugh for taking time from his busy schedule to visit Fairford and talking to FHS.
He finished most poignantly with an image of a pair of shoes lying on the mud at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean indicating the position that a body must have lain until consumed by ocean organisms – reminding us what a terrible disaster it was.