Grade II listings for Colne’s Titanic bandmaster memorials

The memorial and gravestone of courageous Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley have been made Grade II listed sites by Historic England.

Courageous Titanic bandmaster  Wallace Hartley
Courageous Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley

The gravestone, in Colne Cemetery, and the memorial in Albert Road, are among 510 newly-listed historic sites across England.

Wallace Hartley became a national hero when his eight-piece band bravely played on while the RMS Titanic sank, culminating in the loss of the lives of all the band members.

A spokesman from Historic England said the sites were not just chosen for their historical interest, but for their design.

Grave of Wallace Hartley in Colne Cemetery. Photo Ben Parsons


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He added: “The band’s selfless sacrifice when they played on to try to calm passengers captured the public’s imagination and the musicians were regarded as heroes, especially Wallace Hartley.

“His 1912 white granite gravestone includes carvings of a violin and a music book open to the page of ‘Nearer, my God, to thee’ which is said to be the tune the musicians played before they disappeared beneath the waves.

“In 1915 a handsome monument with a bronze portrait bust of Hartley was commissioned from the well-renowned Bromsgrove Guild which was paid for by voluntary contributions and presents – a moving tribute by the people of Colne to one of their own.”

Upon his return to Colne, 40,000 people lined the streets for his funeral procession, more than double the population of the town.


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Funeral honour: 40,000 turned out to sat farewell to Wallace Hartley (s)

Local historian Geoff Crambie says the listings are well deserved for a man that put Colne on the map.

He said: “It’s a fantastic honour for the town because he’s one of our own, he’s our hero.

“They’re beautiful structures and the fact both the gravestone and memorial have been listed just goes to show how well thought of he is across the UK, not just in Colne.


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“As a born and bred Colne lad, I’m extremely proud to say I was born in the same town as Wallace Hartley.”

Chairman of Colne Town Council Sarah Cockburn-Price says the listings are fantastic for the town.

“It’s something the town is incredibly proud of,” she said, adding: “When you look back in time and see how many people lined the streets for his funeral shows you how well though of he is in Colne.

“The heroic way in which he acted in his final moments is something we in the town are proud to be a part of.”