Henry Swaffin Wotton was born in Liverpool in 1858 the son of Devon (Brixham) born parents William Thomas Wotton, a wheelwright, and Emma Phillips Swaffin, who had been a servant at the imposing Berry House overlooking Brixham harbour.
At the time of the 1861 census, three years after young Henry’s birth, the family had moved south and were living at 96, Crescent Road, Plumstead in London.
Ten years later in the 1871 census, Henry Wotton was living back in Liverpool with his aunt at 18 Marsh Lane, Bootle. By 1881 he owned a butcher’s shop in Croydon Road, Streatham and seems to have lived alone on the premises though he had a visitor, one William Carver, a marine engineer on the night of the 1881 census.
In the spring of 1881 in Monmouth, Wales he married Annie Carver. They continued to live in Streatham and over the next ten years, they had a large family: Arthur Henry C. (born 1882); Edith Amelia (born 1884); William Hector (born 1885); Elsie May (born 1886, who died aged 6); Blanche Lavinia Olive (born 1888) and Violet Isabel A (born 1891).
In 1891, the family were living at 12 High Road, Streatham. Henry was still running the shop and they now had an apprentice living with them, Frank Deverson from Ramsgate in Kent. Katie, Henry’s 19 year old sister was also living with the family. The business must have been doing well, as they had two servants - one an American lad from Cincinatti, the other a young general servant girl.
By 1901 the family had moved again, this time into a much larger and more substantial property - the impressive 12 roomed Park Lodge in North Drive, Streatham (which was demolished to allow for the construction of Streatham Baths some years later). Annie was living in the house with the children (the oldest boy, Arthur, was working in the family business). Henry’s stepmother Emma Turner was there too from Brixham, and a servant. William Hector, who chose to be known as Hector, was at Mill Hill boarding school in Hendon. Elsie May was living at an address in West Ham recorded as ‘feeble minded’ and died soon afterwards in 1906. There was no sign of Henry Swaffin Wotton, he was on a business trip to America, having travelled there on 13 March on board the Oceanic.
In 1911, most of the family were still living at Park Lodge. Arthur had married, and Hector had qualified as a dental surgeon, but yet again there was no sign of Henry Swaffin Wotton.
Wotton made at least eight trips to the USA , travelling alone and mostly in First Class, between 1892 and 1909.
He boarded the Titanic (Ticket No. 86 , £1 10s) as first class passenger and disembarked at Cherbourg. The reason why is unknown
He had retired by 1921 and died on 4 September 1925
Geoff Whitfield, UK
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