Mr Thomas Albert Street was born in Shirley, Hampshire, England on 2 February 1887.
He was the son of Henry Street (1835-1899), a gardener, and Emma Gates (1845-1925). Both his parents hailed from rural Hampshire and had married in 1865. They settled in Boldre, Hampshire before relocating to Romsey and finally settling in the Southampton area around 1886.
Thomas had twelve siblings: Alice Eva (b. 1862), Bessie (b. 1866), Henry (b. 1868), Charles (b. 1870), William (b. 1872), Frederick George (b. 1874), Fanny Maria (b. 1876), Mary Eliza (b. 1879), Annie Esther (b. 1881), Martha Emma (b. 1882), Walter John (b. 1884) and Cecil (b. 1891).
Thomas appears on the 1891 census and at that time he and his family were living at 10 Lion Street in Shirley, Hampshire, an address Thomas would live at for the next twenty years. The 1901 census describes Thomas, aged 14, as a gardener's son, he apparently having already left school and still without profession. His father had died in 1899 aged 63 and his mother was not remarried. When the 1911 census was conducted Thomas was not present at home and presumably at sea.
When he signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Street gave his address as 10 Lion Street, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.
On the night of the sinking Street was off duty at the time of the collision. In a 1935 interview he stated that he was among those who jumped into the icy waters, finding it difficult to swim away from the ship on account of the suction and remaining in the water for nearly half an hour before he was taken aboard the lifeboat commanded by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, lifeboat 14. His later testimony may be questionable and some researchers are of the opinion that he left the Titanic in lifeboat 9.
Following the disaster Street was not called to give evidence to either the American or British inquiries into the disaster but was compensated £7, 16s, 6d with regards to his detention for the latter.
Thomas returned to Southampton and continued working at sea. He was married in Southampton in early 1914 to Mary Eliza Draper (b. 27 April 1887 in Southampton) and the couple went on to have three sons: Albert John (1914-1996), Charles Frederick George (1916-1979) and Archibald Henry (1919-1977).
During WWI Street served aboard the Beryl, which belonged to a yacht patrol and which was torpedoed just outside of Queenstown but he again escaped with his life. He also served aboard Olympic during the conflict and recalled one of his passengers during that time as Robert Borden, then prime minister of Canada. Following the conflict Street returned to the merchant service and worked on a host of vessels, including those on runs to South Africa and Japan.
Thomas in 1935 (The Pictorial, 16 April 1935)
Street left the sea in the mid-1920s and relocated with his family to the northwest of England, settling in Morecambe where he held seasonal jobs as a commissionaire at Morecambe’s Central Pier and later working in the same capacity at Morecambe’s Winter Gardens. With a downturn in his health and falling on hard times, in 1934 Thomas and his family moved to Luton, Bedfordshire in search of further work, remaining there for at least a year and living at 13 Manor Path, from where he gave an interview to The Pictorial in April 1935 about his experiences.
Thomas and his family eventually resettled in Southampton and by 1939 were residents of 133 Bluebell Street, he being described as a general labourer. His wife Eliza later passed away on 28 December 1953.
Thomas Street rallied for a further decade after the loss of his wife before passing on 26 January 1964 aged 76. He was buried at South Stoneham Cemetery, Southampton (section M5, plot 189); the gravesite has no headstone, only a simple marker. His last surviving son Albert died in Southampton in 1996.