Encyclopedia Titanica

Emily Richards

Emily Richards
Emily Richards

Mrs Sidney Richards (Emily Hocking) was born in Penzance, Cornwall, England on 22 April 1887.

She was the daughter of William Rowe Hocking (b. 1854), a baker and confectioner, and Eliza Needs (b. 1858). Her father hailed from Cornwall whilst her mother was born in Tresco on the Isles of Scilly and they were married in 1880. She was one of five surviving children from a total of seven and her extant siblings were: William James (b. 1881), Sidney (b. 1884), Richard George (b. 1889) and Ellen (b. 1891). She also had a half-sister, Dorothy (b. 1899), from her mother's second marriage.

She first appears on the 1891 census living at 39 Adelaide Street, Penzance. Her father is believed to have settled in South where he died and her mother remarried, becoming Mrs William Guy. The family appear on the 1901 census at 34 Mount Street, Penzance.

Emily was married in 1908 to James Sibley Richards (b. 9 October 1887), a general labourer from Newlyn, Cornwall. The couple appeared on the 1911 census living at 6 St Mary's Place, Penzance, a boarding house ran by her mother. The couple would have two sons whilst in England: William Rowe (b. 1909) and Sibley George (b. 1911)  and later lived at 'The Meadow', Newlyn.

Her husband and brother George subsequently emigrated to Akron, Ohio and she planned to join him there. She boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger with her two young sons under ticket number 29106 costing £18, 15s having been transferred from the Oceanic. Travelling with her was her mother Eliza, sister Ellen, brother George, who had returned from Akron to accompany them, and her aunt Ellen Wilkes.

Emily Richards and Addie Wells had strolled the deck of the Titanic the night of 14 April, noticing how cold it was. She had just put her children to bed and was asleep (another account says she was about to go to bed herself) when the Titanic collided with an iceberg. After the collision, her mother rushed into her room and shook her saying "There is surely danger, something has gone wrong." Mrs Richards and her other family members put on their slippers and outside coats and dressed the children and then went up on deck in their nightgowns. As they went up the stairs a crewmember called out that "Everyone put on life preservers." Mrs Richards returned to her cabin, as family members reassured themselves that nothing was the matter. They returned to deck and were told to pass through the dining room to a rope ladder placed against the side of the cabin that led to an upper deck. Mrs Richards, her two sons, her mother, and her sister were pushed through a window into a lifeboat. They were told to sit in the bottom of the boat, they were so low they could not see over the gunwale. Some of the women tried to stand after the boat pulled away, however, the crewmen pushed them with their feet back into a seated position. The boat was only a short distance away from the Titanic went it went down. The people in the boat pulled seven men out of the water. Mrs Richards said:

"Some of these men were already mad with exposure and kept trying to get up and turn the boat over. The other men had to sit on them to hold them down. Two of the men were so overcome with the cold and exposure that they died before we reached the Carpathia and their bodies were taken aboard."

The boat had a foot of water in it before they were rescued by the Carpathia. Aboard the rescue ship  they watched as one woman, who had been separated from her two children, reunited with them and "she was wild with joy and lay down on the children on the floor trying to cover them with her body like a wild beast protecting its young."

The Richards and Hockings hoped that George Hocking had been rescued by another ship, but he was lost. After leaving the Carpathia, the Richards stayed at Blake's Star Hotel at 57 Clarkson's Street in New York City and she was reunited with her husband Sibley Richards who had travelled from Akron.

The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913 
Case number 390.(English).
A mother and two young children, coming to join her husband in Ohio, lost clothing and household goods, valued at $500 and $200 in cash. She was uninjured but the children suffered severely from exposure. She received clothing, transportation and $50 from other sources of relief, and was assisted by this Committee to establish a home. ($600).

Emily Richards

Emily and her family settled in Akron but the loss of her mother in April 1914 possibly compelled them to return to England which they did so before the close of the year. Back in England, Emily gave birth to a daughter, Emily Needs, on 29 September 1914.

Her husband, later a fish worker, died on 3 July 1939 at the age of 51. Emily continued to live in Paul, near Penzance, Cornwall until her death on 10 November 1972. She is interred in the Paul Cemetery, Cornwall.

Both her sons married and raised families. Her daughter Emily was married in 1948 to Joseph Clarence Trethowan Rowe (1900-1962) and following his death was remarried in 1964 to William Alfred Lippitt (1910-1991). She died in 2003 in Penzance.

© Steve Coombes, UK

References and Sources

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio), 20 April 1912, p. 1
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), 20 April 1912
General Register Office Certified Copy of an Entry of Death
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
American Red Cross (1913) Emergency and Relief Booklet (#390)

Newspaper Articles

Was member of the Young Men’s Christian Association Choir
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (18 April 1912) Penzance party on Titanic bound for Akron
Seven adults and four young children from Penzance all bound to Akron.
No news received as to the fate of Mrs Ellen Wilkes...
Families sat in water a foot deep
Schenectady Gazette (20 April 1912) Hocking Family News
Women and children all safe but men in the party were drowned
Daily Graphic (4 May 1912) Emily Richards and sons


Family portrait

Documents and Certificates

Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Filipe Prista

    Filipe Prista

    Can someone please tell me whether Mrs William Rowe Richards is still alive today ? And whether George Sibley Richards married ?

  2. Jennifer Mueller

    mr prista i looked up the information you were looking for and i see that willam richards died in england in 1988 and as for george it doesnt say if he married or not but i hope this helps jennifer mueller ps this site has lots of information on the titanic

  3. Randy Bryan Bigham

    This is a Corbis Images copyrighted photo: Randy

  4. Michael H. Standart

    Interesting that there's a model of our favorite liner on the mantle. Did any other survivors keep anything like that around? Cordially, Michael H. Standart

  5. Grant Woollacott

    Does any one know much about present day descendants or their degree of involvement with Titanic researchers?

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Emily Richards (née Hocking)
Age: 24 years 11 months and 23 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Last Residence: in Penzance, Cornwall, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 29106, £18 15s
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Friday 10th November 1972 aged 85 years
Cause of Death:

Linked Biographies

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch