Survivors Relief Fund Information


May 28, 2001
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"Overload no Katie, challenge yes".

Considering the sensitivity of the material successfully forgathered, I cannot afford to take names out of the hat and run the risk if inviting legal action which could threaten the very existence's of this message board's future with closure. The Titanic Community would be in deep mourning if that ruling became a reality.

Equally I have no problem sharing the data I've accumulated Katie, but due to the high level of destruction imposed, I am restricted virtually in all areas of enquiries. The inquisitive world of the accountants and solicitors offices' of Southampton are mostly assigned to the history books, as most were a victim of war, take over bids, or closure which seems to be the main benefactor here. Only a minuet fraction of those involved with the old Southampton Committee have survive, and even their selection of case files of compensation and other related matters of Titanic and the Relief Fund, are all gone.

Let's proceed now by answering some of your questions in a more orderly fashion.

>>>>Question on web-sites?

Several accounts of the 1906 Act are found on-line and the one I usually favour and find more reliable can be accessible on this web-site www.1911encyclopedia.org
head for the title - Employers' liability and workmen's compensation - LoveToKnow1911.

>>>>I am hoping to find out a few finer details about the monies which were given, where the money came from and how people went about claiming them ensuring they received the correct and just amount!

The range of monies given varied from case to case. The Prudential Assurance Company (known today as The Prudential) managed to resolve at least 292 case of compensation in less than a month. Years afterwards the unwise decision to destroy all of those 292 case files was authorized at a higher level, eliminating all evidence and ending this episode once and for all. The same procedure applies to Eagle Star whose new masters are based in Switzerland. The old title of Eagle Star has disappeared altogether after a take over bid was successful, falling under the new ownership of Zurich Insurance. The branch manager of the White Star Office's Southampton was Philip Eddowes Curry, and one of his accepted positions outside the domain of the White Star Line, was a Director sitting on the board of Eagle Star. Apparently, Eagle Star's involvement is small compared to others but there was a substantial amount of correspondence exchanged between Curry and Eagle Star. I wrote to this company three years ago, and to my horror quickly learnt that the bulk of this historical material, we all so desperately want to view, was destroyed over twenty six years ago. Regretfully due to the undertaking of the actions inflicted by the companies concerned, I have nothing else to offer you in the way of providing names and the amounts involved.


>>>>Where the money came from and how people went about claiming them ensuring the received the correct and just amount.

The set amounts awarded to the widows was really in the hands of The Honourable Judge at the hearings. The Titanic Claims didn't take full effect in Southampton until the May of 1912, and in all cases, the legality side of things were usually dealt with by employing a Solicitor who was acting in the best interest of the dependent widow. Sitting at the bench was "The Honourable Judge Percival Gye". The rendezvous of most of the hearings took place at two venues in Southampton. First was the famous Audit House and this important landmark was the main setting of many of the claims of compensation. For a period of nearly a year, it was also the center point of all daily activities including the weekly meetings of the newly formed Southampton Committee. The monthly meetings didn't take place until the March of 1913 onwards, and were conducted in a different location of Southampton. The old Audit House doesn't survive today as Hitler's fire bombs of 1940 did there worst.

The second location however, does survive, and can be found tucked away down Castle Way - in the old French quarter of Southampton. The old County Court Room with the Royal Arms above the Public Entrance sign was another of Judge Gye's retreats and under the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1906, the amount awarded to the widows was under the legal requirement.

>>>>Also, did the amount given in compensation affect the amount that people were given from the Titanic Relief Fund?

A valid point and you're no fool Katie. Surprisingly the answer is "yes" I have found a cluster of discussions with the intentions of making recommendations to a reduction to the weekly allowance. Why the Relief Fund took this cause of action isn't known yet. The likelihood of ever finding a case going to court is pretty slim as the Fund was deeply apposed to all manner of speaking "troubled-case" getting in the hands of the local press for the fear of bad publicity. Yes, there's a good side to the Relief Fund like there was also a brutal side. If a dependent widow didn't obey the ruling laid down by the London Mansion House Committee, then her punishment was serve resulting in dismissal lasting a short period of three months and not receiving any weekly allowance, or in some rare cases, resulting on a permanent basis which could extend too many years ahead. One widow was kicked off and she wasn't finally reinstated until twenty eight years later.

>>>>Generally I am interested in finding out how peoples' finances were affected but the huge loss of life? In particular, the large amount of people affect in the Southampton area.

Many households were deeply affected with the tragedy. One book comes to mind and should feed you appetite and give most of the answer you are seeking for - the legendary - Titanic Voices. If you're looking elsewhere to explan your knowledge where the Relief Fund was providing the weekly allowance and tangled up in a court case, then one book released last year should come to your rescue. I really take my hat of to the bravery of Christopher Ward's book - And The Band Played On. A very sad and harrowing book but beautifully written and one of those Titanic must-have-books on the library shelf.

I hope the above meets you requirements Katie. Like I said earlier, I am restricted.
 

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