Mr Algernon Henry Barkworth

Algernon Henry Barkworth

Mr Algernon Henry Barkworth 1 was born in Tranby House in Hessle, Sculcoates, Yorkshire, England on 4 June 1864.2

He was the son of Henry Barkworth (1822-1898) and Catherine Hester Smith (1838-1915). His father, a timber merchant, farmer and landowner, was born in Yorkshire whilst his mother was born in Kannur (Cannanore), Kerala, India to British parents, her father a civil servant. They were married in Yorkshire in 1858 and went on to have four children: Edmund (1859-1931), Evelyn (b. 1860), Violet Hester (1866-1956, later Mrs Harold Robinson Pease) and Algernon. The family were wealthy and Algernon grew up surrounded by an entourage of servants and was raised by his governess Amelia Selina Coxhead (1844-1920), an Essex native. The Barkworth family had been established in Hessle since the 18th century and Tranby House had been built in the very early 1800s by Algernon's great-grandfather, John Barkworth, a merchant.

Algernon first appears on the 1871 census living in Tranby House but would be absent from the following census in 1881 when he was perhaps at boarding school. By the time he reappeared on census in 1891 he was back at the family home but with no stated profession. His father died on 13 January 1898, leaving at estate valued at £151,592, 2s, 5d.

Algernon Barkworth

Algernon briefly left Yorkshire and settled in Puddletrenthide, a village in Dorset and he appears there on the 1901 census, still listed as living on his own means. His next door neighbour was his brother Edmund and his family who had followed in his father's footsteps and who had become a farmer and landowner.3 By the time of the 1911 census Algernon was back with his aged mother and unmarried sister Evelyn and Tranby House and he was described as a Justice of the Peace for the East Riding of Yorkshire, a position he had held since 1903.

Barkworth boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 27042 which cost £30) and he occupied cabin A23. Although a seasoned world traveller, this voyage was Barkworth's first trip to the USA where he intended to spend a month. He spent much of his time aboard with Charles Cresson Jones who he seems to have known previously, and his new acquaintance Arthur Gee.

On the night of the sinking the three men sat deeply engrossed in a debate about good road-building, a subject in which Barkworth was keenly interested. It was growing late, however, and he began to think about retiring. Someone said that the ship's clock would be set back at midnight, so Barkworth decided to stay up until then in order to set his watch.

Barkworth recalled that some time before the ship sank he had went below to retrieve some items from his cabin and the musicians were playing a waltz. By the time he returned they had gone. As the ship sank deeper he pulled a heavy fur coat over his lifebelt, threw his briefcase into the water and stepped in after them. He found the coat and belt buoyed him and he eventually made his way to the overturned collapsible B but someone warned him that if he came aboard he would swamp the boat. Eventually, however, he was able to drag himself aboard the boat.

Following the disaster Barkworth spent time at the home of a Mrs Richard F. Wood of Main Street, Concord, Massachusetts. Not wishing to continue his month-long stay in America due to the strain he had encountered during the disaster, he later returned to England. He had sent a telegram to his anxious mother, then staying in Scarborough, telling her that he was safe.

Algernon lived in Tranby House for the rest of his life and was never married, some family indicating that he was not of that persuasion. He was a member of the East Riding Bench for 35-years until just one year before his death and was at one point a member of the East Riding County Council. He was held in high esteem in his local community. A reported eccentric with a love of animals, he was also an avid collector of curios.

His mother died on 29 August 1915 and he continued to live with his sister Evelyn until her death 29 April 1933. Algernon himself was later plagued with chronic respiratory problems and he died on 7 January 1945 aged 80. He was buried with his sister Evelyn in Mill Lane Cemetery, Kirk Ella, Yorkshire.

His home Tranby House later became a school, Hessle High School, and is now a listed building.


  1. Many sources give his full name as Algernon Henry Wilson Barkworth. His birth and death records and other documentation cite the name as only Algernon Henry Barkworth.
  2. Birthdate often cited as 9 March 1864. His birth was registered in the last quarter of 1864 making the March date unlikely.
  3. An article shows that Barkworth and Jones were probably acquanted before sailing on the Titanic.


Portrait of Algernon Barkworth
Motoring with Algie Barkworth
Algernon Barkworth's Grave
Algernon Henry Barkworth

Articles and Stories

Hull Times (1945) 
Daily Mail (1912) 
Concord Enterprise (1912) 
Evening Banner (1912) 
Bridgwater Mercury (1912) 
The Times (1912) 
The Times (1912) 
Scarborough Mercury (1912) 
Brighton Argus (1912) 
Titanic Commutator 

Comment and discuss

  1. Ian Bland said:

    I found out recently that Algernon Barkworth lived around the corner from me. I used to drive past his house every day to take my daughter to school!

  2. Geoff Whitfield said:

    Hi Ian, Isan't it a rest home or something like nowadays? Geoff

  3. Ian Bland said:

    It's a school. The house used to be owned by the Wilson Family (see Barkworths full name) The Wilsons owned the Wilson Shipping Line, in the 19th century the largest privately owned steemship fleet in the world. Interestingly, Joseph Boxhall worked for Wilson Line later in his career.

  4. Ian Bland said:

    Geoff Apologies, but that's wrong. I have checked and the Wilsons owned another house with a very similar name, rather than this one. Very sorry to mislead you. But I believe Boxhall still worked for them. I was fascinated to discover that the Wilson line owned a steamer called Titania around the same time as the Titanic. I have a drawing of her in 1911.

  5. Andrew Maheux said:

    Hi, Can someone identify the people in the "Algie Barkworth" photo on the ET Exibit. Thanks Andrew

  6. Justin Lowe said:

    I've tried posting before but it never appeared anywhere so here's my second attempt. Just recently Ive had some time to put together a small website with photos and information relating to Algernon Barkworth. The site isn't particularly detailed though I hope to add to it in the near future. Here is the link.. If you like it please sign the guest book.

  7. avatar

    Philip Hind said:

    If you look at his you will see the link there.

  8. Justin Lowe said:

    whoops! thanks for letting me know :-) I'll get the hang of this one day..!

  9. Lester Mitcham said:

    Hello Justin, Have you seen a copy of: A Swim for Dear Life: The True Story of a Titanic Survivor by Brian Edwards; it is about the life of Algernon Barkworth

  10. Justin Lowe said:

    I've just been searching for it on the internet. Apparently it's hard to come by but I am sure when/if I get a copy it will make good reading. Thanks for telling me about it!

  11. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Justin - I have just posted the below into Mr. B's Obit page. I hope you find something of interest? Cheers Brian BARKWORTH. Algernon. H. Cabin A23. Saved. Aged 48 years. Saved in Lifeboat B (overturned) then transferred to number 12. (Died 7th January 1945). Solicitors:- Stamp, Jackson, and Birks, 5 Parliament Street, Hull and Barkworth White, Belmont, Scarborough. Marconigram from Titanic April 13th 1912, recd. 2.28 p.m. reads. Barkworth, Whites, Belmont, Scarborough. All well Algy. Marconigram dated April 18th 1912 to Barkworth, Hessle, England. ''Am safe on board Carpathia... Read full post

  12. Lester Mitcham said:

    Hello Justin, It shows on A Swim for Dear Life: The True Story of a Titanic Survivor Our Price: £9.95

  13. Justin Lowe said:

    Thanks for the message Brian, it was fascinating to read the newpaper articles. What a great surprise! When I get time would you mind me adding them to my little site? If you do mind, then no worries, I just thought they would make it more interesting and would allow me to expand on the titanic theme a little. I know of someone who collects old photos of Hessle so am hoping he might have some interesting photos that could be included. I ordered the book, am hoping there are some copies lurking somewhere. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for looking that up for me Lester!

  14. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Thanks for the message Brian, it was fascinating to read the newpaper articles. What a great surprise! When I get time would you mind me adding them to my little site? No Problem - Best wishes Brian

  15. Justin Lowe said:

    Algernons Grave I had some spare time today so decided to try and find Algernon's Gravestone. He isn't buried at Hessle as one would expect but in the nearby village of Kirk Ella where his family also resided. He shares the "plot" and headstone with his sister Evelyn. Follow the link... There is a link on the main page which will take you to the photos I took. I'll be posting some new photos of Tranby House shortly.

  16. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Justin - Many thanks for the above information about Mr. Barkworth - I have just updated my Memorials book with the information and that is memorial number 968 and I have put your name in the Contributors list. Very best regards - Brian

  17. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Great pictures Justin. Thanks for sharing. Best regards, Jason

  18. Justin Lowe said:

    I got the book from an internet site. "A swim for dear life". It was interesting, giving a little insight into Algernons life and what happened to his infamous fir coat, it was a bit sad hearing of its demise. The rest of the book was basically about the sinking of the ship, pretty much common knowledge but nontheless still interesting and was worth buying. According to the book the car in the photograph was called "Dixie", thats either the name he gave it or its model name, its an american roadster and must have been quite famous locally. I don't suppose there were many of those being... Read full post

  19. Paul Barkworth said:

    I was helping my 7 year old daughter prepare some information for a school project here in New Hampshire, where I now live when I discovered your fascinating site and have enjoyed reading the information about my great, great uncle Algie. For several generations The Barkworths have dined out on their connections with this otherwise unremarkable country gentleman. As a small boy, one member of the family remembers meeting Algie towards the end of his life and, noting that his hands felt very cold, was sure that they had remained so ever since his exposure in the north Atlantic!

  20. Justin Lowe said:

    New updated website Hello, I have had some spare time lately so have created a new website dedicated to Algernon Barkworth, stories about his life and home at Hessle in East Yorkshire, England. Please have a look, I hope you find it interesting. Best Wishes.

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Gavin Bell, UK
John Elverson, UK

References and Sources

Hull Times, 13 January 1945: DEATH OF MR ALGERNON BARKWORTH
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Algernon Henry Barkworth (ref: #15, last updated: 5th January 2019, accessed 1st August 2020 04:08:02 AM)