Encyclopedia Titanica

Charlotte Caroline Collyer

Second Class Passenger

Charlotte Caroline Collyer
Charlotte Caroline Collyer

Mrs Harvey Collyer was born as Charlotte Caroline Tate 1 at The Tilth, Cobham, Surrey, England, on 17 June 1881. She was baptised on 2 October 1881 at St Andrew's Church in Cobham.

She was the eldest daughter of Allen Tate (1853-1911), a coachman, and Louisa Anne Townsend (1853-1931), both Surrey natives who had married in Essex in 1880. Charlotte had six known siblings: Louise Alice (b. 1883), Nellie (b. 1885), Lily Maud (b. 1886), Allen (b. 1888), Gladys Florence (b. 1891), and Eva Elsie (b. 1893).

She first appears on the 1881 census living at an unspecified address in Cobham, showing up as a resident of Kings Head Alley in Leatherhead, Surrey by the time of the following census in 1891. By the time of the 1901 census Charlotte had left home and was working as a domestic cook for the Reverend Sydney Sedgwick, a Church of England clergyman who lived at Fanfield Hill, Leatherhead. It was perhaps through the church that Charlotte met her future husband, Harvey Collyer (b. 1880) who was the church sexton and verger.

Harvey and Charlotte were married in St Mary and St Nicholas' Church in Leatherhead on 5 May 1903. Their respective addresses at the time were given as Church Walk and Hill Street, both in Leatherhead, and Harvey was described as a warehouseman. The couple had one child, a daughter, born in 1904 and whom they named Marjorie Lottie.

Harvey Collyer and Family

The family later moved to Bishopstoke, Hampshire, following the Reverend Sedgwick who had moved to his new Parrish church there, St Mary's. Harvey would continue to work for the church as verger, on the church council and as a bell ringer and he also ran a grocery store in the town. Charlotte also continued to work at the church and the family were well respected within their community.

The family appeared on the 1911 census living at 82 Church Road in Bishopstoke, Hampshire and Harvey was then described as a grocer and sexton.

Friends of the family had gone to Payette, Idaho, several years before and made a success of the fruit farm they bought there. They wrote glowing accounts of the climate to the Collyers and advised them to come to seek their fortune in Idaho. The Collyers did not seriously consider the proposition until Mrs Collyer began having respiratory problems (she was afflicted with tuberculosis), at which point they decided to buy a farm in the same valley as their friends in America (Mrs Collyer later felt guilty that it was her own health problems that eventually caused the death of her husband).

"The day before we were due to sail (our neighbours) made much of us, it seemed as if there must have been hundreds who called to bid us goodbye and in the afternoon members of the curch arranged a surprise for my husband. They led him to a seat under the old tree in the churchyard and then some went up into the belfry and, in his honour, they rang all the chimes that they knew. It took more than an hour and he was very pleased. Somehow it makes me a little sad. They ran the old chimes as well as the gay ones and to me it was too much of a farewell ceremony."  Charlotte Collyer (the Semi-Monthly Magazine) R

The next morning the Collyers went to Southampton, where Mr Collyer drew from the bank the family's life savings (including the money from the sale of their store in Bishopstoke). He took the money in banknotes instead of a draft and put the money in the inside breast pocket of his coat. In the Titanic's hold were the few personal possessions that the family had kept after the sale of their home -- which meant that everything the Collyers owned was on board the Titanic, which they boarded under joint ticket number 31921, which cost £26, 5s).

When the Titanic collided with the iceberg, Charlotte was in bed feeling nauseous due to her meals having been too rich that day. Her husband went out to investigate and reported back, saying: 'What do you think? We've struck an iceberg - a big one - but there's no danger. An officer told me so!' She just asked her husband if anybody seemed frightened, and when he said no, she lay back again in her bunk (Lord 1976).

Charlotte and Marjorie were rescued in lifeboat 14, but Harvey Collyer died in the sinking, and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

Following her arrival in New York, she later wrote to her mother:

Brooklyn, New York
Sun April 21st

My dear Mother and all,
I don't know how to write to you or what to say, I feel I shall go mad sometimes but dear as much as my heart aches it aches for you too for he is your son and the best that ever lived. I had not given up hope till today that he might be found but I'm told all boats are accounted for. Oh mother how can I live without him. I wish I'd gone with him if they had not wrenched Madge from me I should have stayed and gone with him. But they threw her into the boat and pulled me in too but he was so calm and I know he would rather I lived for her little sake otherwise she would have been an orphan. The agony of that night can never be told. Poor mite was frozen. I have been ill but have been taken care of by a rich New York doctor and feel better now. They are giving us every comfort and have collected quite a few pounds for us and loaded us with clothes and a gentleman on monday is taking us to the White Star office and also to another office to get us some money from the funds that is being raised here. Oh mother there are some good hearts in New York, some want me to go back to England but I can't, I could never at least not yet go over the ground where my all is sleeping.
Sometimes I feel we lived too much for each other that is why I've lost him. But mother we shall meet him in heaven. When that band played 'Nearer My God to Thee' I know he thought of you and me for we both loved that hymn and I feel that if I go to Payette I'm doing what he would wish me to, so I hope to do this at the end of next week where I shall have friends and work and I will work for his darling as long as she needs me. Oh she is a comfort but she don't realise yet that her daddy is in heaven. There are some dear children here who have loaded her with lovely toys but it's when I'm alone with her she will miss him. Oh mother I haven't a thing in the world that was his only his rings. Everything we had went down. Will you, dear mother, send me on a last photo of us, get it copied I will pay you later on. Mrs Hallets brother from Chicago is doing al he can for us in fact the night we landed in New York (in our nightgowns) he had engaged a room at a big hotel with food and every comfort waiting for us. He has been a father to us. I will send his address on a card (My Horder) perhaps you might like to write to him some time.
God Bless you dear mother and help and comfort you in this awful sorrow.
Your loving child Lot.

Charlotte and her daughter also received relief from both the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund:

Number P. 26.
Collyer, Charlotte, widow and Marjorie, child.
Received total £1 3s 0d per week.

And the American Relief Fund:

No. 83. (English).
The husband was drowned. His wife and seven year old daughter were saved. He was a merchant in England and had been the parish clerk in the village where they lived. They were highly respected people in fair circumstances. The wife had contracted tuberculosis and they were coming to this country to buy a fruit farm in Idaho, where they hoped the climate would be beneficial. He was carrying $5,000 in cash; this was lost, and all their household belongings. Both the widow and her daughter suffered severely from shock and exposure. They were at first unwilling to return to England, feeling that the husband would have wished them to carry out his original plan. For emergent needs she was given $200 by this Committee, and $450 by other American relief funds. After a short residence in the West she decided to return to her family in England. Through interested friends in New York City, a fund of $2,000 was raised, and she received $300 for a magazine article describing the disaster. She returned to England in June and her circumstances were reported to the English Committee, which granted £50 outright and a pension of 23 shillings a week. ($200).

Charlotte and Marjorie did not settle in the USA as planned and returned to England where, towards the end of 1914, she was remarried, much to the chagrin of her deceased husband's family. Her new husband was a Liverpool native named James Ashbrook Holme (born 1885), a licensed victualler, and the couple lived at The Fox and Pelican in Greyshott, Haslemere, Surrey.

Charlotte finally succumbed to tuberculosis which had plagued her, on 28 November 1916, aged 35. Her second husband James Holme died less than three years later on 22 March 1919, leaving little Marjorie to be raised by her uncle Walter Collyer, a gamekeeper.  

Charlotte is buried in St Mary's churchyard, Eastleigh, Bishopstoke, Southampton not far from where they lived there is also a plaque on the residence to Harvey Collyer.


  1. Name frequently given as Charlotte Annie Tate. Her birth registration and both her marriage registrations and associated church documents do not list her middle name. Her baptismal record specified her name as Charlotte Caroline and she is listed on the 1891 census as Charlotte C. Tate. Her death record makes no mention of a middle name.

References and Sources

The Semi-Monthly Magazine, May 1912, How I was Saved from the Titanic
Brian J. Ticehurst and Geoffrey W. Whitfield (1997) The Doomed and The Delivered, in preparation
Christopher M. Wardlow (1997) Catching up with the Collyer's[sic], Atlantic Daily Bulletin, No 2., p.7
Photo credit: Library of Congress

Research Articles

The tragic stories of Titanic survivors who died prematurely...

Newspaper Articles

Surrey Advertiser and County Times (20 April 1912) Mr. And Mrs. Harvey Collyer
Collyer sailed on Titanic to take over land in Idaho


Leatherhead Advertiser The Collyer Family
Harvey Collyer, Charlotte Collyer and Marjorie Collyer
Washington Post (1912) Charlotte and Marjorie Collyer

Documents and Certificates

Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklets and Minute Books, London Metropolitan Archives (COL/MH/AD/06/009)


Colonel Archibald Gracie (1913) The Truth about the Titanic, Mitchell Kennerley, New York
Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima (1997) Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage, Sutton Publishing, Southampton City Council. ISBN 0 7509 1436 X
Search archive online

In the Titanic Store

Charlotte Collyer (2018) I Was There… At the Sinking of the Titanic 14/15 April 1912, ‎ Spitfire Publishers LTD (11 July 2018)

Comment and discuss

  1. doreen monks

    I have just been to the Titanic Exhibition in Melbourne Victoria, my passenger was Charlotte Collyer, I really wondered about her little daughter and was pleased to learn that she also survived the ordeal. You just cannot imagine what it would have been like to have to get off the ship into small life boats in such freezing conditions. Beating all odds they survived and continued on with successful lives.
  2. Magda Harrison

    Well actually that was very lucky they both survived but they did not go on to live successful lives according to published info.  The mother died 2 years later in 1914 leaving the daughter to live with her distant uncle at the age of 10, where it is said she was very unhappy, then the daughter married in 1926 but soon after her husband died young and she remained a widow dying in the 1960s.  So very sad story, poor little girl went from having 2 loving parents to going through such traumatic experience and the being orphaned. Not the greatest lot in life, hope she is at peace now.   
  3. Caitlin

    I believe that letter was written to Harvey's mother, not Charlotte's-- it doesn't make sense the other way around.
  4. Monica (2376)

    I have also read she lost a small child as well and felt she had bad luck since the Titanic, poor girl.
  5. Ronbo710 .

    Truly sad to hear she passed only two years later.
  6. Sandra Jones

    Magda, slightly wrong with info. Yes, I agree that they all had such tragic lives. Charlotte didn't die 2 years later, but 4, dying in Nov 1916, and Marjorie continued to live on with the stepfather until his passing 3 years later in 1919. That's when she moved in with her uncle at the age of 15. It is sad that they didn't treat her the way she should have been treated and she stuck it out until she married, not in 1926 but 1927.
  7. Unnamed

    I think that maybe she meant son in law.
  8. Gemma

    Charlotte's gret niece Louise Heafield is interviewed by the BBC here on YouTube:

    I think the friends from Idaho were John Pitman Hallet and his wife Anna (ne Horder). Anna's brother Edward Young Horder had moved to Chicago years before and ran a successful business. Prior to emigrating, John had lived in Bishopstoke. My great great grandmother Mary Ann Pitman, lived with him for a bit shortly before she died. I think he was her son-in-law. His wife Anna would have been my great great aunt.
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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Charlotte Caroline Collyer (née Tate)
Age: 30 years 9 months and 28 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Harvey
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 31921, £26 5s
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Tuesday 28th November 1916 aged 35 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: St Mary's Churchyard Bishopstoke, Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England

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