t h e   r o s a   t r o u p e

Wallace Hartley

Wallace Hartley

When opera enthusiasts consider performances they usually identify conductors and singers by name with chorus and orchestra collectively remembered but individually anonymous. However, Wallace Hartley, born at Colne in Lancashire on 2 June 1878, is one orchestra member who is still remembered. He took to the violin as a child and as a teenager played with the Colne Orchestral Society and became a professional musician in 1901 playing in cafes, concert halls, pier pavilions, and theatre orchestras. This included touring opera companies and he had periods with the first violins of both the Moody Manners and the Carl Rosa companies. Exact dates are uncertain but it would have been between 1901 and 1908 as in the following year he took to sea playing on the great ocean liners. Three years later he sailed from Liverpool on 10 April 1912 as bandmaster on the Titanic’s maiden voyage and the rest is history with the band playing as the ship sank on 15 April. He was laid to rest in Colne Cemetery a month later after thousands had witnessed the funeral procession. Wallace Hartley memorial

He appears to be the only member of the Rosa company – other than Augustus Harris – to be remembered with a public monument. The illustration shows his memorial in Colne town centre.
The Carl Rosa Archive has no Wallace Hartley material. The Trust acknowledges a debt to Titanic literature for the above details.

© 2019 John Ward

If you use the information on this page, please acknowledge the Carl Rosa Trust: www.carlrosatrust.org.uk