As the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic’s doomed voyage arrives, a Cheetham man is preparing to commemorate his ancestor’s survival of the world’s greatest maritime disaster.
Richard Hyman is the great-grandson of Joseph Abraham Hyman, a man who set sail as a Steerage passenger on the Titanic on April 10 1912.
Having survived the sinking of the Titanic, Joseph returned to Manchester where he established a deli that is now run by his great grandson Richard.
In its 100 years the shop has flourished into a family business that has stores in Cheetham, Altrincham and Cheadle.
Joseph Hyman had boarded the ship alone. He was full of the hope of setting up a new life in America for his wife and children, who he planned on bringing over to America once he had established himself.
While sailing across the North Atlantic Ocean however, just 350 miles from Newfoundland, Canada, the Titanic struck the infamous iceberg at 11:40pm on April 14.
It would be around three hours before the ship sank completely, tragically taking with it over 1,500 lives.
Richard said his great grandfather escaped the disaster only because of luck and chance.
Joseph was part of the third class, so he should have been among the first to be swallowed up by the below-freezing waters.
However, Joseph happened to have been near the lifeboats when they were being filled with women and children, and men were needed to row the boats.
He volunteered and safely rowed the boat away from the sinking wreck before being picked up by the rescue boat Carpathia.
The Carpathia took Joseph to America to be with his cousin. However, he was too afraid of the ocean to return home, as were his family too scared to make the journey to join him.
Instead, his cousin got him thoroughly drunk and while he was too intoxicated to know what was happening, he was put on a boat.
When he woke up he was already at sea.
On Joseph’s return to Manchester he set up a kosher deli, an idea that he had when he was in America.
The deli was originally was named J. A. Hymans ltd, but word of his amazing escape had spread and Joseph became a local celebrity.
Customers would point and say 'Look, it's the man from the Titanic'. It didn't take long for the shop to be known as Titanics.
According to family members, Joseph was always a pleasant man and was polite to customers, but he was traumatised by his ordeal and would often wake up through the night screaming.
Richard said: “These days you have psychiatrists and doctors to help you, but there was nothing like that back then. I can’t imagine sitting in that lifeboat listening to all those women and children screaming and watching people die.”
To commemorate the disaster, Richard has been working through a myriad of old recipes left on scraps of paper that his great grandfather and grandfather worked on together. He wants to recreate them so his customers can taste history.
Titanics take pride in putting great care into the preparation of their products, in particular their recipe for smoked salmon that came back with Joseph from America.
Richard is currently developing a special steak and ale pie to commemorate the Titanic, made with ale from Titanic Brewery.
He will also be holding a laheim – a traditional Jewish toast to celebrate life – at the deli throughout the rest of the week to toast the event. Customers will be welcome to join in.
Richard said: “I’m stunned. For any business to reach 100 years is great; the fact that we are in our fourth generation is really great.
"We will be holding the laheim to celebrate the Titanic as without it I wouldn’t be here and the business wouldn’t be here.”