Ripley man’s tribute to sister ship

NRHNBE120409b1, Ripley man John Siddel with his titanic exhibition.
NRHNBE120409b1, Ripley man John Siddel with his titanic exhibition.

IF THE anniversary of one of history’s most told tales of tragedy has whetted your appetite for knowledge - then why not pay a visit to John Siggins’ back garden museum?

The 60-year-old engineer has spent the past two years creating a space in his garden to house a host of artefacts which once stood aboard Titanic’s sister ship, the RMS Olympic, launched in 1911.

John, who lives next door to Midland Railway - Butterley, has decked out the museum with original wooden panelling from the White Star liner, which was broken up in 1935.

And his collection of artefacts from the ship, once piloted by the Titanic’s captain Edward Smith, includes silverware, crockery, carvings, pillars, a dining table and a chair taken from the bridge which the ill-fated Captain Smith may well have sat in.

John, who has spent ‘thousands’ at auctions over the past seven years, said: “My fascination with the Olympic is mainly to do with the boat itself. I’m an engineer by trade, and I just found the scale of it fascinating.

“I’ve always wanted to build a museum of my own.

“The idea is to keep it all looking the same as it would have been on board the ship.”

John, who has no intention of selling anything, said he will open the museum on bank holidays and for arranged private viewings. To find out more, ask at Midlands Railway - Butterly for details.