Mrs Fanny Maria Kelly

According to the Carpathia manifest of Titanic survivors, Fanny Kelly, was a 45 year old widow born in Wandsworth, London, with a sister, a Mrs. Hamilton, staying at 31 Bedford Place, London, which was a boarding house near Russell Square. Mrs. Kelly was going to visit her son Richard at 68 West 71th Street, New York City.

Under the first name Florence, she had bought ticket number 223596 for £13 10 s and boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger.  She shared a cabin with Hilda Slayter.

Mrs Kelly survived the sinking. She was rescued by the Carpathia, (possibly in lifeboat 9 or 13). On the Carpathia she sent a telegram to her sister in London on 18 April at 6.32 pm:

Hamilton 32 Bedford Place London
saved cable Dick lost adress

According to the 1913 The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross (recipient number 236), Mrs. Fanny Kelly returned to England, possibly arriving in Southampton, September 22, 1912 (Majestic passenger manifest listing a Mrs. Fanny Kelly, age 47).

Although there has been some uncertainty about which Fanny Kelly sailed on the Titanic, it seems certain she was Fanny Maria Kelly (nee Tozer).

Fanny Maria Tozer was born in Battersea, Wandsworth District, London in late 1863.  Although her birth records are unavailable, her approximate date of birth and birth location are based on the birth certificates of her nearest aged siblings, as well as, the 1871 and 1881 UK census records. 

She married Richard Henry Kelly, a diamond merchant, in early 1883 and her son, Richard Charles Kelly, was born a few months later.  At this time, Fanny seems to have used the first name Nellie.  Nellie Kelly's marriage certificate, her son's birth certificate and the 1891 UK census record are consistent with Nellie actually being Fanny. 

In the 1901 (UK Census), the now widowed Fanny Maria Kelly, age 35, was running a boarding house on Upper Bedford Place near Russell Square, London.  By 1911 (UK Census), Fanny, age 47, was working at a boarding house about a block to the west of Upper Bedford Place and being visited by her son, Richard.  Richard Charles Kelly returned to New York, arriving on March 8, 1912 (Oceanic passenger manifest giving a UK contact of an uncle, Mr. Hamilton).  

Based on various census, birth and marriage records, Fanny Maria Kelly's sister, the Mrs. Hamilton mentioned above, was Mary Louisa Hamilton of Southsea, England (1911 UK census). 

Fanny Maria Kelly, age 56, died on March 1, 1920 at 32 Bloomsbury Street, London of "Diabetes 8 years duration" (UK death certificate), suggesting that Fanny was possibly an undiagnosed diabetic when she boarded the Titanic.  Her gravesite has not been located.

In a 2000 Encyclopedia Titanica discussion thread, it was suggested that the unknown woman photographed with Hilda Slayter and Laurence Beesley aboard the Carpathia was Hilda's cabin mate, Fanny Kelly.  An attempt was made to confirm this suggestion by trying to locate any living descendants of Fanny Maria Kelly. 


Richard Charles Kelly married M. Dorothy E. Curtis of Bexleyheath, Kent, England in August 1920, and emigrated to New South Wales, Australia where he died in 1948.  There is no available evidence of children,  However, Mary Louisa Hamilton's son, Kyrie Claude Hamilton, also emigrated to Australia and his descendants have confirmed that multiple great aunt Fanny Maria Kelly was on the Titanic.


Comment and discuss

  1. Pat Cook said:

    That's it in a nutshell, folks. Does ANYbody know of a photo of Fanny Kelly? This is one of those haunting (t'is the season, after all) items that I thought I'd bring up on the board here. Actually, Daniel Rosenshine suggested I post it here - we were again discussing the Carpathia photo with Lawrence Beesley (big surpirse, huh?), Hilda Slayter and a third unidentified woman. It has been suggested that the third woman is Fanny Kelly, who was a cabin mate of Slayters. I can tell you this much - on the back of the original photo, the Fenwicks (who took the photo) had written 'Sclaters... Read full post

  2. Geoff Whitfield said:

    Hello Cook, How are you doing? All I can say on the photograph situation is that Fanny Lydia Kelly was travelling with Marion (aka Mary Ann) Smith. The story is that Smith was to marry Kelly's son who was the proprietor of an hotel in New York but it appears that the marriage - if indeed there was to be one - did not take place as Smith returned alone and unwed to Basingstoke.Fanny Kelly was born 22nd October 1856, which would make her 55 in April 1912. I would be interested to hear the outcome! Good hunting! Geoff

  3. Pat Cook said:

    Hi Geoff, I hope all is well with you, sir. I cannot take credit for any of the identifications on the Carpathia photo. Although I DID ask Mrs. Fenwick (the daughter-in-law who now owns all the Fenwick photos) about the writing on the back and passed along that info. Alan Ruffman is working on the 'Slayter Scribbler' with Gary Shutlak, as you know , and he firmly believes the third woman to be Kelly in the photo. Senan Molony, Alan Hustak, Daniel Rosenshine plus Ruffman and Shutlak have all contributed in this search. If we can just locate a photo of Fanny, this would certainly be... Read full post

  4. Daniel Rosenshine said:

    If Kelly was traveling with Smith, what was Slayter doing in a cabin with Kelly? I don't know, but I don't think Slayter makes any mention about Smith being in the cabin too. Thanks to Hermann Soeldner, who transcribed the Titanic - Carpathia - survivor lists, we know that the given information for Kelly was 45 years old (not 55, but the list is not to be taken for granted with ages, so I stick to 55) and that the height given for her is 5'6" and Slayter being 5'8". If Slayter was indeed that height (which is believable, compared to Beesley's 5'11") then the other woman on the photo looks... Read full post

  5. Geoff Whitfield said:

    Daniel, Your guess is as good as mine regarding sharing a cabin. Smith's adress was given as c/o Mrs Kelly, 68 West 71st Street, NYC. which would seem to back up all the claims that I have seen about the relationship between them. I have wondered though if Smith was simply going to work for Mrs Kelly's son. The details regarding Kelly's date of birth are correct, researcher Craig Stringer found her through tracing the birth certificate for her son and then using the information from that to obtain her birth certificate. Another researcher claims that Smith was born 10th January 1863 which... Read full post

  6. Edmund Turner said:

    Isn't Fanny Kelly spelt "Fannie Kelly"?? ED

  7. Pat Cook said:

    Hi Ed, Unless I'm mistaken, her name is spelled 'Fanny'. Phil Gowan sent me an email on this and he has a copy of her birth certificate (I DO remember her name isn't Florence). Gowan, correct me on this if I'm wrong. Best regards, Cook

  8. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Nope, that's right--her birth certificate (as Geoff said) lists her as Fanny Lydia Kelly and that is what is on the son's certificate as well. Phillip

  9. Jim Kalafus said:

    In the New York Herald for April 19, 1912, there is a human interest story headlined "MEETS MOTHER AT PIER; BELIEVED HER LOST Mrs. Kelly Was Carrying $8000 To Start Son In Business, But He Forgets That." (pg9) The text of the article is basically an expanded version of the headline, ending with the quote "My mother is saved.....I don't know whether she lost the money or not, and I don't care so long as I have her." There was no follow up article that I could find, and I have been wondering how this resolved itself. Did she rescue the money; if not, did she put in a claim for it, or was... Read full post

  10. Rosalyn said:

    Please please help trying now to find out information regarding Florence 'Fanny' Kelly 2nd Class passenger anything will help. I believe that she would of been travelling with Marion Smith as Marion was due to marry Fanny's son Richard. My interest in Marion is becoming an obsession that is driving my family insane so they give thanks to Brian Ticehurst for his information that he gave the last time Tx in advance to anyone who can help

  11. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Rosalyn Greetings - here is a bit on Mrs. Kelly: KELLY, MRS. FLORENCE (FANNY). Saved in Lifeboat number 10. Lived at 32, Bedford Place, Russell Square, London, W.C. UK, and en route to 68 West 71st Street, New York City. Widow aged 45 years. (From The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913). No. 236. (English). Widow, 45 years of age, suffered very severely from shock and exposure, and lost a large amount of personal belongings and $500 in cash. She received clothing and $120 from other American sources of relief. Being still unwell from the effects of her... Read full post

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Alan Hustak, Canada
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Charles Caldwell, USA

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
John Booth & Sean Coughlan (1993) Titanic Signals of Disaster. White Star Publications, Westbury, Wiltshire. ISBN 0 9518190 1 1
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
The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
British Census
GRO Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) Fanny Maria Kelly (ref: #478, last updated: 3rd January 2013, accessed 4th July 2020 17:49:59 PM)