Encyclopedia Titanica

Edward Wilding

Delivery Trip Passenger

Mr Edward Wilding was born at 3 Gladstone Road in Garston, Lancashire, England in late 1875 and was later baptised in St Michael’s Church on 9 January 1876. He was the son of Henry Wilding and the former Margaret Noblet. His father, a merchant clerk at the time of his birth, later worked as the manager of a steamship office and was a Justice of the Peace. 

At the age of 15, Wilding became a naval cadet in the Royal Navy, intended for a career in the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors (RCNC). After five years as a cadet, he was promoted to Probationary Assistant Constructor and posted to the three-year naval architecture course at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. When classes were not in session at Greenwich, he rotated among the various naval dockyards to gain practical experience, spending rather more than half of his time in this fashion. Passing out of Greenwich after three years, about 1898, Wilding went to Portsmouth Dockyard and to an assignment to a Channel Fleet battleship to gain sea experience. After a brief period at the Admiralty for what he described as “special calculations,” he went on to the Admiralty Experimental Works, Haslar, working under Dr. R. E. Freud, F.R.S. It seems from this that he may have been regarded as particularly talented in theory and calculation.

In February 1904, he was employed as a draughtsman in the design department of Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Ireland.

At some time during her construction, he visited RMS Lusitania at John Brown shipyard, Clydebank — possibly twice. He also crossed the Atlantic aboard her on the liner’s sixth voyage, which would have been early in 1908. On both occasions, he seems to have been shown everything, including the bilges and bunkers.

By 1910 Wilding was a resident of Knock in East Belfast and was married in Clifton, Bristol, on 5 July 1910 to Marion Emily Shilton (b. 1882 in Burton, Staffordshire). The couple returned to Ireland and, by the time of the 1911 census, were residents of Jordanstown in Co Antrim, then a small village on the outskirts of north Belfast, located on the western shore of Belfast Lough.

Wilding assisted in the design of Olympic and Titanic under Thomas Andrews. He travelled on the Titanic, officially as a passenger, for her delivery trip to Southampton.

Following the loss of the Titanic, Wilding was called to provide testimony to the British Inquiry regarding the ship’s seaworthiness and later at the Limitation of Liability Hearings in New York in 1915.

Wilding remained active in shipbuilding circles for years to come.

He died in 1939 and was cremated at Landican cemetery and crematorium, Woodchurch, Wirral, Merseyside and the ashes were scattered in Rose bed 16.


William D. O'Neil

Comment and discuss

  1. William D. O'Neil

    Edward H. Wilding, who was to play a central role in the design of the liners of the Olympic class and in explaining their design in the wake of the Titanic disaster, was born in England in 1875 and died in 1939. A number of books dealing with Titanic mention him, since his testimony is the source of so much that is known about the ship, but none provide much of a picture of the man or his career. This very brief and incomplete sketch summarizes what can be learned from public primary sources, chiefly his own sworn testimony at various hearings and a few public records. Numbers in brackets... Read full post

  2. David Lewis

    In would be happy to let you have further information on Edward Wilding 1875-1939.

  3. PCash

    Shouldn't the fifth paragraph refer to 1904 rather than 2004?

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Edward Wilding
Age: 36 years (Male)
Nationality: English
Religion: Anglican (Church of England)
Marital Status: Married to Marion Emily Shilton
Last Residence: in Belfast, Ireland
Occupation: Naval Architect
Embarked: Belfast
Disembarked: Southampton
Died: 1939
Cremated: Landicran Cemetery, Birkenhead, Lancashire, England

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