A Titanic close shave
After reading the forum post on page 7 of your recent April issue, I had to send you the following.
In March 1985, I was with my aunt Lilian who said she had received a call from a Harald Thompson, her husband’s cousin, who said he wanted to meet Harry Sladden, Lilian’s brother-in-law. They arranged to meet. Mr Thompson then said to Harry: “I owe my life to you.”
Harry “What are you talking about?”
Lilian: “Well, when we were playing together as children in Norton-on-Tees, you pushed me in a go-kart and I fell out and was concussed. It was so bad that my parents cancelled a trip on the Titanic!”
The day my aunt told me this story, I was playing in a concert of the Allegri Quartet in Leeds Art Gallery. I related the story to Peter Carter, the leader. He then told me that his father, Roy Carter, had been ill with Bright’s disease and, as a result, his grandfather, Wilfred Burnett Carter, withdrew from playing in, and possibly leading, the orchestra on the Titanic.
I then looked up at the wall of the art gallery, where there was a painting of the orchestra that was playing on the Titanic as it sank! That’s what my memory tells me. However, I can’t trace the picture.
I checked with Leeds Art Gallery and was told they own the painting Outward Bound by Frederic Cayley Robinson which commemorates the leader of that orchestra, Wallace Hartley. It portrays a lonely boat with the born in 1820, aand his son WWilliam Henry SShaw were bbutchers in the BBirmingham aand Smethwick aareas. Looking aat the various ttrade directories, I have found them listed in at least 12 different addresses in theh BirminghamBiih area.
This is a photograph of one of the shops with William Henry Shaw and his son Walter – his daughters are shown as assisting in the trade.
One story is that he Titanic in the background. It’s not of the orchestra, but perhaps that’s what I saw. David Roth, by email Editor replies: What a series of coincidences! We couldn’t track down a painting of the orchestra but we did find the painting that you mention by Frederic Cayley Robinson. would often go into the local public houses and chat up the women, buying them a drink in the hope they would visit his shop – this worked more often than not.
It seems that he often carried a large amount of money on him but one night in the early 1900s he was robbed, it seems that the business went into decline after that.
I understand he would travel all over the place for cattle and had his own abattoir. Bob Shaw, by email Editor replies: I hope our article gave you some insight into the trade Bob – and it was good to meet you at WDYTYA? Live Editor replies: Connecting with other trees through these websites is a great way to further your research and discover new family members.
by Frederic Cayley Robinson
Bob Shaw’s butcher ancestor
William Henry Shaw