A Ti­tanic close shave

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - WRITE IN -

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

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