Encyclopedia Titanica

Brook Holden Webb

Brook Holden Webb
Brook Holden Webb

Mr Brook Holden Webb was born in Kirkdale, Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 30 March 1862. 
Baptism Record
Webb’s baptismal record

He was the son of William Brook Webb (1822-1864), a mariner, and Margaret Holden (1824-1900). His father hailed from Hereford, Herefordshire whilst his mother was a native of Liverpool and they had married in Liverpool in 1849. 

Brook had three siblings: Maria (b. 1850), William Alfred (b. 1856) and Julia (b. 1859).

The year before Webb’s birth his family were recorded on the 1861 census living at 66 Salop Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool. The year prior to that again his father, whilst first mate aboard the Australian ship Brierly Hill, was implicated in the murder of fellow-crewman William Brown. On 6 August 1860 the captain, whose ship had run low on food and fresh water, would not sail to nearby Ascension Island for replenishment and soon faced a mutiny from his crew. First mate Webb, determined to ensure the safety of his captain, retrieved a revolver from his cabin and returned to the bridge where he shot dead William Brown. He was later sent to trial for this action but was later acquitted.

Brook was baptised on 21 February 1864 in St Peter's Church, Liverpool but his father died only days later after suffering a fatal heart attack whilst at sea.

Brook first appears on the 1871 census whilst he and his family were living at 44 Salop Street, his mother then working as a seamstress to support her family. Brook went to sea a few years later around 1875, seemingly working continuously for the White Star Line and by the time of the 1881 census he is listed as an unmarried steward on board the Brittanic, then docked at Birkenhead. His mother was still listed at 44 Salop Street. By 1896 he was a steward aboard the Majestic and would serve aboard her for several years. 

Brook was married in Liverpool on 4 October 1883 to Ada Alice Woods (b. 1863 in Liverpool), daughter of pawnbroker William Woods and the former Catherine Frances Williams. 

The couple had five children, four sons and one daughter: Brook Holding (b. 1 March 1885), Hamilton (b. 16 September 1886), Gladys (b. 18 May 1888), Leslie (b. 9 December 1889) and Arthur Charles (1891-1891), losing their youngest in infancy.

The 1891 census shows Brook and his family living at 4 Millfield Road, Walton, Liverpool and he was described as a mariner. Brook was widowed within weeks after this census when his wife Ada died aged 28 during childbirth to a son named Albert Charles, who also passed away.

Brook continued to work at sea, leaving his children with helpful relatives or as boarders at different addresses. On the 1901 census he was absent but his children are shown scattered around different addresses, his daughter, Gladys, for example, a pupil at a school in Walton and his son Brook at 31 Salop Street, the home of his paternal aunt Julia Webb Davis and her family.

Alicia Webb
Brook’s second wife, Alicia
(Daily Mirror, 19 April 1912)

Brook was remarried in Liverpool in mid-1905 to Alicia Brennan (b. 1878 in Liverpool). She was the daughter of Irish parents, plasterer Michael Brennan and the former Mary Ann Leonard, a charwoman. 

The couple went on to have three children: Eileen (b. 13 December 1904), Alicia Margaret (b. 26 August 1906) and John Brook Holding (b. 11 May 1910). The family continued to live in Liverpool until around 1907 when they moved to Southampton, the White Star Line having relocated their main port to that city. The family were listed on the 1911 census living at 33 Hanley Road, Shirley and Brook was described as a ship's steward for the White Star Line. 

Brook was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on for the maiden voyage on 4 April 1912 he gave his address as 33 Hanley Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a first-class steward he could expect monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Brook Webb died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate, worth only £10, was not settled until 1928 and was administered to his widow.

WEBB---Brook H., chief smoke room steward of steamship Titanic, who perished in the disaster, age 49. Served the White Star Line continuously for thirty-seven years. — New York Times, 28 April 1912

Brook's widow Alicia returned to Liverpool and was remarried in 1926 to Manx-born Daniel John O'Brien (b. 4 April 1878), of whom little is known. Alicia spent her final days living on the Isle of Man where she died in 1966 aged 88.

Brook’s daughter Eileen never married and died in Liverpool in May 1932 aged 27. 

Daughter Alicia married in 1932 to Richard Arthur Corcoran (b. 24 November 1905), a ship’s steward, and they had two sons and a daughter. Alicia died in Congleton, Cheshire in 1982.

His son John later worked as a hotel manager in Tipton, Staffordshire and in 1934 married Hilda May Clarke (b. 1912). They had no children. John died in Worcester in 1991.

All of Brook’s children from his first marriage migrated at one point or another to the USA.

His son Brook emigrated in the mid-1900s and lived in New York where he worked in the wholesale grocery business. He married in 1921 to Florence Mary Giles (b. 1885) but they had no children. Brook died in New York on 10 December 1961. His widow Florence died in 1990 aged 105.

Son Hamilton also migrated to New York in the 1900s, working as a salesman and marrying in 1913 to Dorothy Shufelt Titus (1891-1923). They had two children. Hamilton died in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1973.

Hamilton Webb 
Hamilton Webb in 1919

Son Leslie, a salesman, emigrated to Chicago in 1906 and in 1920 married Minnie Sass (b. 1896). They had one child, their daughter Gladys Adele (b. 1921).  Leslie died in Chicago in 1969.

Brook’s daughter Gladys, a stenographer, emigrated to New York in 1906 and married in 1915 to Clarendon Henry Pfeiffer (b. 1877), a concert manager. The couple had a daughter, Dorothy. Widowed in 1923, Gladys remained in New York where she died in 1955.

References and Sources

Daily Sketch 18 April 1912 [Photo]
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1860
Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle, 12 January 1861, Murder at Sea
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Comment and discuss

  1. darwebb

    Brook Webb was my great-grandfather. I have much information on his family by his first marriage to Ada (my grandfather, Hamilton Webb, was Brook and Ada's second son). Brook's great-niece (great-granddaughter of Brook's sister, Maria Webb) lives nearby. And we are in touch with several members of Brook's second family, through his marriage to Alicia. Would love to know about any connections!

  2. TamaraWebb

    Hey My name is Tamara, I have recently found my family and discovered that I also am descendant of Brooke Holdings Webb and that he would be my great,great,great grandfather.

  3. TamaraWebb

    My grandfather's Name is Brook Webb as well.

  4. TamaraWebb

    Hey, I have recently found my family and discovered that I also am descendant of Brook Webb and that he would be my great,great,great grandfather. My Grandfather also known as Brook Webb informed me of this.

  5. William Webb

    My father, William Walford Webb, came from the UK to Mexico in the late 60's. He is certain that a family member died aboard the Titanic, as he remembers his mother mentioning that some family members were very upset about the Titanic tragedy, where a related uncle had died. I unfortunately do not have any further information.

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Brook Holden Webb
Age: 50 years and 16 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Alicia Brennan
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Belfast on Monday 1st April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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