Mark’s History: How Farnley musician avoided Titanic disaster

28 July 2019

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Musician Wallace Hartley at one time used to play music at Collinson’s Cafe on King Edward Street in town, which is now the Jigsaw clothes shop, writes Mark Stevenson.

He was now a bandmaster, and I wonder if he remembered the conversation he had with his good friend Elwand Moody, who was born in Farnley.

It was one of those conversations you might have with a friend while you are just chilling out and talking randomly about anything.

Elwand asked Wallace what he would do if he was on a sinking ship, and Wallace replied he would play his favourite song.

True to his word when Wallace Hartley was on a sinking ship – namely the Titanic – and that is exactly what he did with the rest of his band while the ship was sinking. Nearer, My God, to Thee is thought to have been the song being played. 

Wallace had asked Elwand if he would join his band on the Titanic but Elwand decided he wanted a break before his next job as a musician on a ship and went home instead.

Elwand Moody was born in Farnley and lived at 51 Cross Lane, roughly where the Post Box is at Farnley Village Green.

Farnley Hill Methodist Chapel. Photo: Mark Stevenson

He was baptised at Farnley Hill Methodist Chapel in 1882 and became a professional cellorist.

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