A narrow miss for my grandmother

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Aug 23, 2005
My maternal grandmother, Catherine Outram Hatto, almost sailed on the Titanic.

My grandmother worked at Crakemarsh Hall, Staffordshire, as a housekeeper for Lady Ann Cavendish. In 1911 Lady Ann's son, Tyrell William Cavendish and new daughter-in-law, Julia Cavendish (nee Seigal - an American), decided to visit Julia's father (Henry Seigal) in America and asked my grandmother, Catherine Hatto, to go with them as Julia's maid. My grandmother declined the offer as she'd already decided to quit her job and marry my grandfather, Fred Baker, in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, which she did on Christmas Day, 1911.

Mr and Mrs Cavendish hired what today we would call an agency maid, and they sailed on the Titanic in 1912. They had a cabin in first class (No. C46) and when the ship sunk Mrs Cavendish, and her maid, Nellie Barber, survived having been picked up by the Carpathia. Mr Cavendish stayed on the ship and drowned.

Its most likely that had my grandmother gone with the Cavendishs, she would have survived, as did Julia Cavendish, but she probably wouldn't have married my grandfather and who knows, I'd be someone else!

My grandmother often mentioned her narrow escape, but my grandfather made fun of her "tall story". It now seems that she wasn't elaborating - it was all true.
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