Mrs Elizabeth Leather was born was Elizabeth Mary Edwards in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 16 June 1861. She was the daughter of Edward Henry Edwards (1836-1893), a newspaper reporter, and Martha Bird (1839-1914). Her father hailed from Cheshire and her mother from Liverpool and they had married in 1857.
Elizabeth had nine known siblings: Henry Leaton (b. 1858), Frank Romney (b. 1859), Annie Makepeace (b. 1867), Caroline (b. 1869), Martha Jane (b. 1872), Nellie Parker (b. 1875), Margaret Loosely (b. 1879), Mabel Romney (b. 1880) and Elsie Leaton (b. 1881)
She first appears on the 1871 census whilst she and her family were living at 88 Aubrey Street, Everton, Liverpool. The 1881 census records the family living at 35 Rufford Road, West Derby.
Only months after the 1881 census was taken Elizabeth was married to Isaiah Leather, better known as Arthur (b. 1858 in Eccles, Lancashire), a veterinary surgeon. They are not believed to have had any children.
Elizabeth and her husband first appear together on the 1891 census whilst residing at 83 Great Mersey (?) Street and she was visitor at an address in Garston, Lancashire on the 1901 census. By the time of the 1911 census Elizabeth was again visiting, this time at her mother's address, 28 Tarler Road, Lower Bebington, Cheshire and she was by now described as a stewardess. She is believed to have worked for the White Star Line for several years.
When she signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Elizabeth gave her address as 28 Park Road, Port Sunlight, Liverpool. Her last ship had been the Olympic. As a stewardess she received monthly wages of £3 10s.
At the time of the collision Elizabeth was asleep in her berth and was not awakened by the impact, instead she awoke some three quarters of an hour later. She found as she made her way to see to her passengers that they had already abandoned their quarters, so she proceeded on up to B deck. She was rescued in lifeboat 16.
Elizabeth was called to testify at the Board of Trade Enquiry on Monday, May 20, 1912. How long she continued to work at sea is uncertain and she was widowed in 1914.
Elizabeth continued to live in Port Sunlight until the early 1920s when she moved to Birkenhead, living at different addresses including Laurel Road and Horatio Street. She spent the last twelve months of her life in Manor Hill Nursing Home and died there on 29 June 1937 aged 76.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
Gavin Bell, UK
Rob Ottmers, USA
Articles and Stories
Progress - the Journal of Lever Brothers (1912)
Wiltshire Times (1912)