Historic Bible saved from sinking Titanic among Ian Paisley’s collection

Baroness Paisley pictured in the new Bannside Library ineEast.' Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Baroness Paisley pictured in the new Bannside Library ineEast.' Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Baroness Paisley said that her late husband’s favourite book was the Bible and that he read through it every year.

There is a huge collection of Bibles in the library, many of which contain his personal hand-written annotations and some of which contain his sermon notes.

Two of the most valuable Bibles in his collection are not yet in the library, but will be put on display at specific times.

One is a very early edition of the seminal 1611 King James Version of the Bible.

The other is a Bible rescued from the Titanic in the moments before it sank in 1912.

It belonged to John Harper, a Scottish Baptist pastor who famously gave up his seat in a lifeboat after he had been offered an escape from the unfolding tragedy due to the fact that his wife had died and he was with their six-year-old daughter. According to survivors, Harper preached to those drowning around him before he himself went beneath the waves.

His Bible survived and was given to his brother, who was a friend of Ian Paisley’s father, and thus made it into his library.