I am carrying out some research on Miss Elsie Edith Bowerman who was a survivor of the Titanic disaster in 1912.
She was born in 1889 and in 1901 she lived with her Mother at Thorncliffe, 145 London Road, St Leonards.
Her life thereafter is catalogued in great detail from her schooling days, university, to be being a nurse in the first World War, her activities as a Suffragette and finally she was admitted to the bar in 1924 and practised as a Barrister until 1938 on the South Eastern Circuit. She died in 1973.
The reason I am carrying out this research is that I have just purchased a pocket book entitled Oxford and its Colleges by J.Wells and published in 1897.
On the face of it nothing outstanding except for the hand written inscription on the title page as follows: ‘Elsie Edith Bowerman, from Auntie Bell. In memory of a visit to Oxford, August 5th 1897.’
The manager of the Oxfam shop where I purchased the book thought that Elsie was a survivor of the Titanic disaster and after checking the list of survivors I found she was rescued with her mother in lifeboat No.6.
To prove that this is in fact the Elsie Edith Bowerman who was on the Titanic (both Elsie and Edith were quite popular names in the late 19th Century) I need to prove that there was some connection with Auntie Bell.
I am finding it difficult to discover details of her life between 1891 and 1901 when she still lived at 145 London Road.
However in 1901 next door at 143 London Road lived a lodger, a single lady named Isabella Asser, aged 70. In 1897 Isabella would have been about 66 and Elsie would have been about 8.
My question is did Elsie refer to Isabella as Auntie Bell – if so was this just a friendly term between elderly neighbours and a young girl or were they in fact related in any way?
Elsie and her mother owned several properties in the town and did they also own number 143?
I should be very interested to hear from anyone in the area who could shed any further light on the situation. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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