Frank Holden the Slade brothers and the others who missed the boat

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Benedict Carey

Guest
Hi everyone,

Hope I'm not being too impertinent in starting a thread on my first visit here!

My family members are keen try and gather up any information anyone has Frank Holden, who was drinking with the Slade brothers (and some others) and consequently did not board the Titanic at Southampton.

We have a variety of 'facts' gathered from family folklore, many of them tenuous or contradictory, but never mind!

If anyone has found any information, or knows of any likely sources, beyond that we've found on this site and elsewhere (Southampton and Portsmouth museums), then we'd be very grateful to know about it.

We'd also be interested in knowing if any descendants of the Slade brothers, or the other men who were drinking with our ancestor that morning, are still around in Soton and would fancy a 'reunion' at some point?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Benedict, there certainly are people with Slade connections still in the Soton area. Marie Flood, who was born a Slade and is a descendant of one of the famous brothers (probably Alfred) was living in Woolston a couple of years back, when she told the story of the Titanic connection on the local BBC website.
 
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Benedict Carey

Guest
Thanks, I found this reference;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/southampton/features/titanic/connections.shtml

I note that anecdote about holding up the passenger train ... is there any corroboration for that one? I have heard the tale before, but not in connection with the group Frank was with ... The family has always believed they would have made it on board if the men had not had to wait for a long coal train to pass across their path. More recently a researcher told us that wasn't right!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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The story has obviously grown in the telling over the years, and the fully-embroidered version which has passengers owing their lives to the brothers is an especially neat touch. If you catch up with Marie you may need to tread carefully to avoid trampling on the family legends!
 
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Benedict Carey

Guest
Hi Bob ... I know what you mean.

Most of my parents generation never met Frank Holden and had only ever heard; "Your Grandfather Sailed on the Titanic from Belfast on her proving trials. The women of the family held a seance and heard there would be trouble with the men and water, so they didn't let him go on the day".

It was, ummm, ill-advised to question such tales ... woe betide anyone who would doubt the supernatural powers of our older generation! Consequently, most of mine and my parents generation had simply (secretly) believed there was no real Titanic tale at all in our family history. It was only a few years ago (1997) that I had a chat with Frank's youngest son (about the family propensity for tall tale telling) and he actually confirmed he'd seen Frank's White Star documents, complete with his Titanic sign-on and it's cancellation for desertion.

A bit of research then turned up his name in the maritime museum in Southampton. It is spooky to find a whole lot of people around the world had researched our ancestor and, as it happens, know more about him than we did.

There must be over a hundred descendants who would probably not be here now if he'd boarded that ship, most of whom live in this area. Spookily, I'm the only one of the lot who seems to have ever been in the Grapes pub on Oxford Street!

We'd love to know more about that day and, as I said, we quite fancy tracing some others who owe their existence to a fortuitous drinking binge!

Thanks for your help, Bob.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Glad to have been of assistance, Benedict. In case you haven't seen it, the best known version of the story is the account by fireman John Podesta which is here (note the reference to the train):

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/bio/c/e/podesta_j.shtml

He doesn't mention Frank Holden by name, but it's clear from other sources that he was indeed one of the drinking party.
2nd Class passenger Lawrence Beesley witnessed the last act of the drama:

"Just before the last gangway was withdrawn, a knot of stokers ran along the quay, with their kit slung over their shoulders in bundles, and made for the gangway with the evident intention of joining the ship. But a petty officer guarding the shore end of the gangway firmly refused to allow them on board; they argued, gesticulated, apparently attempting to explain the reasons why they were late, but he remained obdurate and waved them back with a determined hand, the gangway was dragged back amid their protests, putting a summary ending to their determined efforts to join the Titanic. Those stokers must be thankful men to-day that some circumstance, whether their own lack of punctuality or some unforeseen delay over which they had no control, prevented their being in time to run up that last gangway! They will have told - and will no doubt tell for years - the story of how their lives were probably saved by being too late to join the Titanic".

He was certainly right about that!
 
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Benedict Carey

Guest
Anyone know what I'land rd would be ... as in the address Given by a fireman called "Shaw" here
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/pog/crew_pog_engine_book_02.shtml
I assume it is supposed to be in Southampton (and not Larne!).
Also ... is there a significance to the order names are listed in those books? I wondered if people were simply in the order they arrived in the sign on queue? I noticed that most of the men who were in that group turned away are clustered together in the sign-on book. Could that suggest they tended travel around as a group of friends or am I speculating too much?
 
Apr 27, 2003
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Benedict - the road you are looking for is:
Shaw, J. 166 Northumberland Road, Northam, Southampton. Fireman. (Deserted 10/4/1912).

As far as I know the house still stands but I have not been down there recently.
Best regards


Brian J. Ticehurst - Southampton UK.
 
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Benedict Carey

Guest
Thanks Brian,

I was trying to work out if there was any likely and verifiable connection between the men who were drinking together ... I noticed Mr Brewer seemed to live about 2 minutes walk from Frank Holden, and so they may have known each other.

Most of the others certainly live near each other in Northam/St Mary's.

I wandered through the cemetery at the bottom of the Common today and spotted a grave for a Thomas Edward Slade, who died at 51 in 1913 ... it did get me wondering if he could be the brother's father. Has anyone done any research on that? are the brothers buried there?

I know my Great Grandfather, and his missus, were buried in that cemetery, but unfortunately there was no headstone for them. I don't know if there is any record of where in the cemetery they were laid rest. We did hunt for a bit, but the wife got nervous as the place seems infested with rats.

Cheers again.

Benedict,
(Shirley, Southampton)

PS: Does anyone else find it ironic that the dictionary on this message board doesn't recognise 'Southampton'?
 
Apr 27, 2003
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Dear Benedict,
The reason for the party with the Slades was that it was one of the Slade brothers birthday - hence the drinking etc. They all lived in the Chantry Road / Chapel area within minutes of each other and the docks.
Ref the Slade grave that you found - so long as you have the date of death you can go to the Registrar of Births and Deaths at 1a Bugle Street, Southampton and they can tell you the details about anyone you wish or whose grave that you find. They are most helpful there.
I can understand your wife being nervous there - it is a 'haunting' place - but there are 240,000 people ''planted'' (some of the graves have as many as 14 bodies in them)there and that gives the whole area quite an atmosphere - as you know there are parts of the Cemetery left to go wild under the Conservation and Wildlife theme and the rats are part of that. I once pulled back the ivy on a gravestone to be confronted with a 4ft grass snake - since then I can assure you that when I have visited there 'I have been nervous'.
Cheers

Brian
 

micah slate

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Feb 26, 2008
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HI I am a new member and I am looking for further info. about the Slate or Slade brothers who, as far as I can ascertain with limited
info. , were waylaid at the Grapes Pub in South Hampton England and somehow 'missed the boat' if you can assist please email me at my name at yahoo , or post here , I will try to find. THX
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Hallo, Micah. There's some info and links in this thread:

[Moderator's Notes: 1. This post and the one above it, originally posted in an unrelated topic have been moved to the pre-existing one, that Bob refers to. 2. The said link that was provided has been removed, since the posts have been merged with the existing thread. JDT]