Encyclopedia Titanica

Mrs Emily Nichols (née Lee) was born 28 April 1863 in Retford, Nottinghamshire, England, the daughter of George Lee (1839-1890, a tanner) and Elizabeth Lee (née Sanford, born 1837).   She had 7 known siblings:  Alice (1864–), Tryphena Lizzie (1865–1951), John (1867–), Lily Sanford (1869–1928),  Edith Mary (1872–), George Robert Sidney (1875–1957) and Sarah Ann.

Emily was married in 1884 to Frederick John Nichols, a widower who worked as a commercial traveller in the tea trade.   They settled at "Hampton", Croydon Road, in a part of Reigate, Surrey known as "Reigate Foreign". They had four children: Alice Elizabeth (1885–1980), Constance Evelyn (1887–), Frederick John (1888–) and Arthur Trevor (1890–1975).

Emily was widowed in 1891 when Frederick died aged just 47.

In 1901 she was running a boarding house at 16 Peak Hill, Sydenham, London, By the time of the 1911 census, she is listed living with all four of her children, all unmarried at that time, at 131 Devonshire Road, Forest Hill, London.

In 1912 Mrs Nichols was travelling to Ireland, possibly to join her eldest son Frederick. She was accompanied on the journey by Mr Richard William Smith, who was possibly a former colleague of her late husband.

It is speculated that the well-known Fr Browne photograph of a couple on the Titanic's promenade deck depicts Mrs Nichols and Mr Smith.

Browne Couple
Possible photograph of Emily Nichols and Richard William Smith on the Titanic.

Mrs Emily Nichols disembarked at Queenstown but Mr Smith, who was travelling onto New York, died in the disaster.

What became of Mrs Nichols after the Titanic remains to be discovered2, but she may have been the Emily Nichols whose death was registered in Hammersmith in 1930.


  1. In the Board of Trade contract ticket list she was listed as a male passenger.
  2. She is mentioned as next of kin, in a 1916 passenger list when her son Frederick travelled to the USA, still living at 131 Devonshire Road.

Newspaper Articles

Sheffield Daily Telegraph (20 April 1912) Retford Lady on the Titanic
Left liner at Queenstown.
Search archive online

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Emily Nichols
Age: 48 years 11 months and 17 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Religion: Anglican (Church of England)
Marital Status: Widowed
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 103, £4
Disembarked: Queenstown

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