Mrs Kate Gold was born was Jane Kate Coulson at 2 Cambridge Cottages in Woolwich, Kent, England on 19 April 1866 and she was baptised on 3 June that same year in St Mary Magdelene's Church, Greenwich.
She was the daughter of Charles Coulson and Priscilla Booker, née Wright (1831-1911) who were married on 14 June 1865.
Little is known about Kate's father except that he was the son of a Thomas Coulson and served as a Royal Artillery Man; he apparently died sometime prior to 1881. Kate's mother was a native of Bath, Somerset and had first been married in 1857 to William Booker, a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery, and had at least one child, a daughter named Elizabeth (b. 1860) before being widowed a few years later.
There is no sign of Kate and her family on the 1871 census but her half-sister is listed at a boarding school in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. On the 1881 census Kate is listed as a visitor at the home of Mr and Mrs Benjamin Cork of Canal Side, Burton, Staffordshire and she was described as a dressmaker's apprentice. Her mother was listed elsewhere as a night nurse in Southport Infirmary and Dispensary, Virginia Street, North Meols, Lancashire. On the 1891 census Kate and her mother are listed together at 117 Shakespeare Street, North Meols and she is still described as a dressmaker.
Kate was married on 12 November 1892 in St Paul's Church, Southport, Lancashire to John Hannah Gold (b. 14 March 1868 in Salford, Lancashire), son of William Gold, a commercial traveller, and the former Margaret Humphreys. John, like his father, was described as a commercial traveller at the time of his marriage and he and Kate's respective addresses were listed as 54 Prince's Street and 117 Shakespeare Street.
On the 1901 census Kate and her husband were living at 40 Crosby Green, West Derby, Lancashire. The marriage failed sometime after this and by the time of the 1911 census they were separated but there is no indication that they ever divorced. At the time Kate was listed as a visitor at 31 Underhill Street, Everton, Liverpool and described herself as a widowed stewardess on the Southampton to New York run. Her ex-husband by that stage was also serving at sea but is not listed on the census. He continued to work at sea into the 1920s before he settled in Liverpool where he worked as a barman until his death in 1949.
Commencing a career with White Star in 1902, during her seafaring career Kate served on the Cedric and Adriatic and was on board the White Star Line vessel Suevic when it ran aground in 1907 (the ship later broke in two and a new bow was attached to the surviving stern section). She was also aboard the Olympic at the time of the Hawke collision.
When Kate signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 she gave her address as Glenthorne, Bassett. Her previous ship had been the Olympic and as a stewardess she received monthly wages of £3, 10s.
Rescued in lifeboat 11, Mrs Gold was not required to give evidence to either the British or American inquiries into the disaster and returned home following detention in Plymouth. Before they caught the train out of Plymouth, Kate and her fellow-survivor Annie Martin gave a brief interview to the Western Daily Mercury (printed 30 April 1912). The article stated that Mrs Gold and Mrs Martin were "old shipmates," having served together aboard Cedric, Adriatic and Olympic.
"When the alarm, or the first idea of alarm came to us," said one, " we were sleeping. We received the notification with much amusement and quite ignored what we thought was a joke. We were advised to get up and put our lifebelts on, but we did not stir. It was only when Mr Andrews, one of the principals of Messrs Harland and Wolff, the builders of the ship, came to us and told us to hurry up on deck that we began to realise the urgency of the situation."
Up on deck Mrs Gold and Mrs Martin saw the bandsmen nearby who were playing ragtime, both noting how those men were so engrossed in their duties that they had not taken it upon themselves to put on their lifebelts. The two ladies joked as they helped each other into their own lifebelts, still unaware that the situation was serious. It was not until both were ordered into the boats that they began to realise that there was something deeply amiss. She praised Bruce Ismay for compelling the stewardesses to get into the boats, several not sensing that it was their place to go ahead of passengers.
"In No. 11 boat there were seventy-five people, sixty-two being women. After pulling away from the side of the Titanic it was found two German males had concealed themselves in the boat before she was lowered. They were found under the seats, and one of them refused to come out, wrapping Mrs Gold's skirts around him for warmth. One of the crew prodded him several times with an oar yet failed to induce him to budge an inch. His compatriot did take the share of work at the oars, but the skulking fellow was permanently idle--except when he was once heard counting out his money!"
Suffering from the cold, Mrs Gold related that one of the sailors in her boat caused the only laugh to be heard that night:
"... as a bird rose from the water, he facetiously said 'I like a bird that sings in the morning."
She was in praise of the conduct of the children in her lifeboat, who behaved splendidly and who were a source of much consolation to the women.
Aboard the Carpathia she lamented for the losses suffered by Mrs Ryerson and her children and witnessed the pitiful scene of young Spanish widow Mrs Peñasco who broke down and remained inconsolable. She and Mrs Martin also recalled how their fellow stewardesses Catherine Wallis and recently-widowed Lucy Snape refused to leave their posts, the latter telling her passengers and other stewardesses that she did not expect to see them again.
Following her experiences Mrs Gold quit her ocean-going career and left Britain aboard the Belgic, arriving on Australian shores before the close of the year where she took up residence in Ballarat to act as housekeeper to her uncle Harry Wright.
In August 1913 Mrs Gold was interviewed (which she cheekily claimed was her first interview regarding the subject) whilst visiting Sydney by that city's Sun newspaper. In the interview she gave a slightly different account of proceedings, stating that at the time of the collisions she was in bed reading a novel, The Panther's Cub, "I will never finish that book," she lamented, but remained in high praise for Bruce Ismay. She also elaborated on the ship's sinking:
It was fine and clear that awful night. All the stars were shining. You would never have thought that there was anything wrong with that giant ship, with row upon row of lights blazing like a grand hotel. But she was gradually sloping forward. Line by line the lights went out as she got lower and lower. Gradually she was sinking. The bows went under and, at the last, the stern part stood up steeply, with the White Star flag showing out against the stars of heaven. There was an awful rattle of chains and machinery, and then she slid down and disappeared. In a few moments the water was quite clear again, as if there never was such a ship. And the sea reflected the stars in the very spot where she had been.
She remained sorrowful for her many acquaintances that she lost:
"No, I can never forget It," concluded Mrs Gold. "It was too terrible for that to be. You see, we were nearly all old friends, the captain, officers, and crew having mostly been transferred together from ship to ship of the White Star Company. We were more like a family. And there were so many of us that even now at times I suddenly recollect somebody whom I had not realised was lost in the Titanic."
Kate never returned to Britain and was remarried on 17 November 1917 in Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Dulwich Hill, Sydney to Ernest Lyle Patison (b. 3 July 1869), a storeman. Both their marital statuses at the time were questionable and both were seemingly committing an act of bigamy.
Ernest Patison was born in Sydney, son of Charles Patison and the former Kezia Iredale. He worked as a clerk and was first married in 1896 to Ellen Clouten (1873-1942), with whom he had five children(1). In 1903 he abandoned his family and a warrant was issued for his arrest. There is no record that he ever divorced his first wife:
Redfern.- A warrant has been issued by the Redfern Bench for the arrest of Ernest Loyle Patison, charged with wife desertion. He is 29 years of age, 6 feet high, slight build, dark hair, fair complexion, brown moustache only, brown eyes; sailor tattoed on right forearm; dressed in brown or blue sac suit, and hard black hat; a clerk, lately employed by Dalgety & Company. Complainant Ellen Patison, 47, Gbbons-street, Redfern. - New South Wales Police Gazette, 25 March 1903
Following their marriage, Kate and her husband lived at 49 Yule Street in Dulwich Hill, Sydney for many years.
Ernest Patison died on 9 January 19432 and Kate continued to live alone at her home on Yule Street. Those who met her described her as a woman of "striking personality." In her declining years, she was cared for by a neighbour.
Kate Patison, née Coulson, formerly Gold, died in Marrickville, New South Wales on 22 June 1948 aged 82. She was cremated several days later at the Rockwood Crematorium.
Patison. – The Relatives and Friends of the late KATE PATISON, late of Yule Street, Dulwich Hill, are invited to attend her Funeral; to leave our Private Chapel, 435 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, This Morning, after a service commencing at 9.15 o’clock, for the Rookwood Crematorium, Walters and Son, AFDA, Dulwich Hill Terminus, LM1676, LM1458 - Sydney Morning Herald, 29 June 1948