Encyclopedia Titanica

Ellen 'Nellie' Wallcroft

Ellen 'Nellie' Wallcroft
Ellen 'Nellie' Wallcroft

Miss Ellen "Nellie" Wallcroft1 was born on 9th December 1875 the daughter of John Wallcroft (Brewer's labourer) and his wife Rebecca (née Broughton). At the time they were living at West Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire.  In the 1881 census the family are listed as living at 6 Norfolk Park Cottage, Cookham, Berkshire.

Nellie had an older brother, Fred (1873-1893) and three younger brothers Walter (1879-1968), Arthur (1882-1924) and John (1884-1885), their mother died just three days after John's birth. The following year, on 22 September 1885 John Walcroft remarried to Louisa Hicks and had five more daughters.

In the 1901 census, Nellie was listed as a cook at the home of surgeon George Moore, in Castle Hill, Maidenhead.  By 1911 she had become a cook in the household of Mr Evan Spicer (a paper manufacturer) at Belair Park, Dulwich.

In order to earn more money, Nellie decided to go to America.  Travelling with her friend Clear Cameron Nellie originally booked on another vessel, but they were transferred when their ship was laid up because of the coal strike. The two ladies boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number F.C.C. 13528, £21). On the Titanic they shared a second class cabin for two on E-Deck.  Her destination was given as Ruddington Farm, Mamaroneck, New York to join her half-sister Lucy Land who had emigrated in 1911.

Nellie Walcroft wrote a letter to the Maidenhead Advertiser dated 23 April 1912 telling her story.

She recounted how she had left Maidenhead on 9 April, stayed in London and caught the special train to Southampton at 8.30 am, 10 April. A sister and a friend said goodbye to her. The train arrived at Southampton Dock station at 10.15 am.

On Sunday night, the 14th, they went to their stateroom about 10.30 p.m. and soon fell asleep. Suddenly there was a crash and she was nearly thrown out of her berth. She woke her friend Clear, by shouting: "Clear, what's that?". The engines had stopped. A steward arrived and said: "Go back to your beds, no danger!", but she heard outside "an iceberg". They dressed and went on deck. There they walked around, when suddenly rockets went up. They finally entered lifeboat 14. Officer Lowe was in command. He shot twice, over the side of the ship, to keep men away from the lifeboat. Then it was lowered and they rowed away.

Nellie said saw the ship split and heard two more explosions from underneath the water, when the Titanic went down. For a few moments it was silent, then terrible crying arose from the people left behind. This seemed to last for hours. When day broke, they saw six large icebergs. Nellie and Clear were transferred to boat 10 when Lowe decided to go back to search for survivors. Six were pulled from the water, two of them died.

At a quarter to seven they were picked up by the Carpathia. They found they had to sleep on the tables of the Dining Saloon. They arrived at New York about 8 p.m. on 18 April where her sister and brother-in-law met her. Mr Carl Land was a chauffeur who had been lent the family car to collect the girls.

From Mamaroneck she sent a cablegram to her parents at 'Briarwood' 4 Furze Road, Furze Platt, Maidenhead, England: "Arrived, well, Nellie".

Miss Walcroft later put a claim to White Star for her loss valued at $651.

Nellie Walcroft stayed for some time at Ruddington Farm. She got a job as cook at Mamaroneck, but she felt very unhappy. Another job at Rye, New York, was no better. Leaving Rye in August, she went to Springfield to look for another job. This didn't materialize so she spent a month at Ruddington Farm with her sister. She tried several other jobs, but could not find one to suit her.

She returned to England during the first world war, and served as a forewoman cook in Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Her efforts were rewarded in 1919 by the British Empire Medal, Military Division, which was presented to her by the Consul General in New York on 1 November 1920.

Returning to America, she was counted twice during the 1920 Federal census, On 11 January 1920 she was listed as staying with Lucy and Carl Land, Nellie Walcroft's half-sister and brother-in-law, their daughter and another sister of theirs, Eva Griffin on Wood Crest Ave. (the Bronx or Brooklyn?). It lists her as being 40, single and a cook and having immigrated in 1917.

On 29/30 January 1920 she is listed as a cook in Manhattan in Henry Schniewand's home in Manhattan.  It states that she was 44 and had immigrated in 1912.

Later in the 1920s she married an Irishman named William George Lipscomb2.  They lived in Brooklyn, New York with William's sister Rebecca.

In 1930 they were living at 295 Ryerson Street, Brooklyn, William was listed as a 'Floor Man' in a bank.  By 1940 they had moved to 292 18 Street, Brooklyn; William's occupation was Apartment House Superintendant and Nellie was listed as a Seamstress.

William died 28 November 1945 and Nellie died 4 September 1949.

At an auction in Devises, England, in January 1999, a letter she had written, detailing her travails, was sold for $13,200.


  1. Most documents, including the Titanic passenger list and the census, spell her surname "Walcroft"
  2. William George Lipscomb was born 17 November 1873 in County Meath, Ireland, he emigrated to America in 1891 (another record says 1900) and became a naturalized citizen in 1904.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Ellen 'Nellie' Wallcroft
Age: 36 years 4 months and 6 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England
Occupation: Cook
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 13528, £21
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Sunday 4th September 1949 aged 73 years

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References and Sources

Maidenhead Advertiser 29 April 1912, Letter from Nellie Walcroft
General Register Office Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth
British Census 1881-1911
Ted & Dinah Dowding (1997) Clear to America by Titanic - & Beyond. Thurso, Scotland.
William Lipscomb Draft Registration Card
US Federal Census 1910-1940
Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)
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

Newspaper Articles

1901 Census (31 March 1901) Nellie Walcroft : 1901 Census Entry
Nellie Walcroft Maidenhead Advertiser (29 April 1912) An account of my journey on the Titanic
Nellie Walcroft's description of the sinking.


Clear Cameron and Nellie Wallcroft
Ellen 'Nellie' Wallcroft
Nellie Wallcroft
Nellie Wallcroft and her husband William lipscomb
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Comment and discuss

  1. Hannah Carthew

    Hannah Carthew said:

    Hello everybody My great great Aunt 'Clara Stacey' was meant to travel with Nellie Walcroft and Clear Cameron on that fateful journey. Because of personal circumstances Clara never went. On her arrival at Ruddington Farm Nellie sent Clara a letter. Although we have discovered a lot about Nellie there are still some questions left unanswered. We have had a lot of things get in the way of our detective work over the last few years, family tragedies moving etc so we have had to put our research onto the back burner. With our new pooter we discovered ET and decided to start up again. We were... Read full post

  2. Brian J. Ticehurst

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Hannah - Sorry to be the one to inform you but Dinah also passed away last November. Best regards - Brian

  3. Jason D. Tiller

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Hannah, Welcome aboard. This article, which was contributed by a fellow relative might answer some of your questions.

  4. Hannah Carthew

    Hannah Carthew said:

    Hello Brian Thanks for that, We had our suspicions. At least they're together again. Kind regards Hannah

  5. Hannah Carthew

    Hannah Carthew said:

    Thanks Jason Hannah

  6. Jason D. Tiller

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    You're welcome, Hannah.

  7. Inger Sheil

    Inger Sheil said:

    Thank you for posting that, Brian. I hadn't been in touch with Dinah since sending her a Christmas card a while back and meant to phone to see how she was. I'm deeply saddened to hear that she has passed away. She was such a lovely, spirited woman, and so talented in her many diverse interests, and it's a shock to think that she's gone. But I can only echo what Hannah said - also my first thought following the initial sadness and surprise - that she and her darling Ted must be together again. If ever a couple adored each other, those two did. Hannah, I'll drop a line in response to... Read full post

  8. Kalman Tanito

    Kalman Tanito said:

    Hannah, I think Phil Gowan of South Carolina has tracked Nellie Walcroft but I don't know if he is ready to make his findings public. I know he spent a couple of years tracking down descendants of all her many brothers and sisters and got a lot of information from them as he showed some of it when he was in Hungary in 2003. He and Brian Meister were the ones that finally tracked down Clear Cameron several years ago. Good luck!

  9. Hannah Carthew

    Hannah Carthew said:

    Thank you Kalman you have been very Helpful Kind regards Hannah

  10. Hannah Carthew

    Hannah Carthew said:

    RE: MY TOP POST did they meet in the UK. Why was Carl in London) Lucy travelled back with her employers entourage the McVickars and othe staff. Perhaps Carl was working for the McVickars in London when he and Lucy met? And perhaps Carl was sent back to America a week early to get the house in order and warm (it was April) for the McVickars return. Hannah

  11. Pamela R. Cowan

    Pamela R. Cowan said:

    I just recently came across Hannah Carthew's message from Jan. 31, 2006. She had questions about Nellie Walcroft's sisters and their families. I can answer some of the questions but I don't know if this information is of interest to others viewing this message board. I'll answer a few of the questions and if others are interested in more information let me know and I'll add it. Carl Land was Nellie's brother-in-law and my grandfather. He was born in Sweden in Varnamo. He left Goteborg, Sweden on 3/23/1898 at age 18 for New York. I think he met my grandmother, Lucy Walcroft, in the US... Read full post

  12. Mauro Zungri

    Mauro Zungri said:

    Thanks to share this information with all we. Very tasteful of knowing on the biography of the passengers

  13. Pamela R. Cowan

    Pamela R. Cowan said:

    I need to make a correction to my post of 5/26/06. Nellie's 2 brothers from her father's marriage to Rebecca Broughton were Fred and Walter, not Arthur and Walter. Sorry for the misinformation. Pam

  14. Pamela R. Cowan

    Pamela R. Cowan said:

    I have a little more information to add on Nellie Walcroft. In the process of cleaning out my father's house we found a few letters which Nellie wrote to my parents and grandparents in the 1940's. She was married to a man named William Lipscombe or Lipscomb. He died in Nov. or Dec. 1945 at the age of 73. His birthday was Nov. 17. At the time of his death she was living at 292 18th St., Brooklyn,NY. In April 1946 she moved to 264 18th St. She wasn't happy about moving but she said "It is not as nice as this place but I have no choice and I am lucky to get it it's an English landlady and... Read full post

  15. Mike Poirier

    Mike Poirier said:

    Thats excellent detective work Pam. Perhaps his obit in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle says where he is buried and that is most likely where she is buried. Mike

Showing 15 posts of 16 total. View all.

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Pat Cook, USA
Pamela Cowan (Great Niece of Nellie Walcroft)
Dinah Dowding, UK
Ted Dowding, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Bill Wojcik, Canada (Great Nephew of Nellie Walcroft)