Birthplace of the Titanic captain goes up for sale

When Stafford couple Neil and Louise Bonner paid out £35,000 for a two-bedroom house in 2002 they were also buying a chunk of history.

When Stafford couple Neil and Louise Bonner paid out £35,000 for a two-bedroom house in 2002 they were also buying a chunk of history.

The property, located on Well Street in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, is believed to be the birthplace of one Captain Edward John Smith, captain of the Titanic.

But now, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the disaster, the couple are putting the house back on the market.

Captain Smith was believed to have lived at the house until he left to begin his naval career.

He died along with 1,500 people when the ship struck an iceberg in  1912.

Neil and Louise Bonner, of Cypress Close in Baswich in Stafford, bought the house after seeing it featured on the television and have rented it out over the last decade, but now say it is time to move on. It is now on the market for £80,000.

Mrs Bonner, aged 60, a former university lecturer, added: “We just thought it would be an amazing opportunity so I mentioned it to Neil.

“It’s a Victorian end of terrace built in the early 19th century and it was used as a corner shop by Captain Smith’s mother. It’s just a very humble and working class house. It has various outhouses.

“Captain Smith left home when he was 13 or 14-years-old and he went away to sea.”

The house, which has been rented out for the last decade, is even mentioned in the current Titanic exhibition at The Potteries Museum, Hanley.

Mrs Bonner added: “We will miss the place. What we’re really looking for is a Titanic enthusiast to buy it and appreciate the history of it.

“Since it went on the market it’s already triggered some interest.

“One of those has included someone on the phone from a Titanic museum in Germany.”

Freelance journalist Mr Bonner, aged 64, said the house had been special but with the centenary of the Titanic they believed it was a good time to sell. He said: “We bought it after seeing it featured on the BBC news.

“It’s been fascinating to have had a connection to the Titanic story and it’s certainly provided an interesting talking point over the years.

“We thought the time was good to let it go and have already had some interest.”

For Captain Edward John Smith, commanding the Titanic on its maiden voyage to New York in 1912 should have been a fitting end to his illustrious career.

But the supposedly unsinkable ship struck an iceberg in the Atlantic and sank to the seabed on April 15. After leaving Southampton on April 10, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown, Ireland before heading westwards towards New York.

On April 14, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40pm ship’s time. The glancing collision caused Titanic’s hull plates to buckle inwards in a number of locations on her starboard side and opened five of her 16 watertight compartments to the sea.

Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and sank.

The sale of the home is being handled by Reeds Rains in Hanley.

For more information call 01782 204244.