Encyclopedia Titanica

Christopher Head

Christopher Head
Christopher Head

 Mr Christopher Head was born in Stoke Newington, Middlesex, England on 25 December 1869. He was later baptised in his local St Mary's church on 16 January the following year.

He was the son of Henry Head (b. 1835) and Hester Beck (b. 1834). His father, an underwriter at Lloyd's Bank, London, hailed from Ipswich, Suffolk and was married to his London-born wife in 1860. The couple went on to have ten children, with Christopher's siblings being: Henry (b. 1862), Charlie Howard (b. 1863), Hugh Stanley (b. 1864), Rachel Mary (b. 1865), Francis (b. 1868), Geoffrey (b. 1872), John Alban (b. 1873), Hester (b. 1875) and Bernard (b. 1876).

Christopher first appears on the 1871 census when he and his family were living on 122 Albion Road, Stoke Newington, moving to 41 Wimpole Road in Marylebone by the time of the 1881 census. The 1891 census shows the family resident in Old Shoreham, Sussex at Great Buckingham House and a 21-year-old Christopher was described as a law student. When the 1901 census was conducted Christopher, still a resident of London, was a visitor at Gilston Park in Gilston, Hertfordshire, the home of an Edward Bowlby and his family.

An alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge, he was later called to the Bar and practiced for a time in the Admiralty Division and on the North-Eastern Circuit. A long-time member of Lloyds Bank, he entered the firm of Henry Head & Co Ltd as a director in 1905. A Conservative councillor since 1906, from 1909 until 1911 he was Mayor of Chelsea and during this time he associated himself closely with the artistic life of the Borough and took a leading part in discussions at the Mansion House of the King Edward Memorial. He was an ardent collector of prints and drawings, particularly those of modern artists, and was a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club.

Christopher Head

Christopher was married in London in late-1910 to Ethel Georgina Mary Hill-Trevor, née Chapman (b. 1871). Ethel was born in Adel, Yorkshire, the daughter of a magistrate, and had been married in 1893 to Major George Edwyn Hill-Trevor (1859-1922) and they had a son, Hillyar George Edwin who was born in Florence, Italy in 1895. The family lived in London but by 1909 began divorce proceedings, Ethel culpable of adultery. The divorce was finalised in 1910, just in time for her remarriage. Christopher and his wife appeared on the 1911 census living at 7 Wyndham House, Sloane Gardens and he was described as an insurance broker.

Mr Head was travelling to the USA on business and had his life insured for £25,000 for the trip. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 113038 which cost £42, 10s) and occupied cabin B11.

Christopher Head was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate, worth £56,207, 8s, 2d was administered to his brother Geoffrey on 12 June 1912.

His widow Ethel was remarried two years later to Sir John Phillip Du Cane (b. 1865), Brigadier General and Chief of the Imperial General Staff of the War Office. She therefore became Lady Ethel Georgina Mary Du Cane and she and her husband continued to live in London. Further heartache arose for Ethel when, during the First World War her son Hillyar served as Lieutenant in the First Battalion of the Scots Guards. He was killed in action in France on 21 December 1914 aged 18. Ethel was widowed in 1947 and she herself passed away in Chelsea on 16 October 1960.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
The Daily Sketch, 17 April 1912.

Newspaper Articles

Shoreham Society Newsletter A Titanic Link
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea News Christopher Head
Progress : the Journal of Lever Brothers (1912) Port Sunlight
Boston Globe (16 April 1912) Others of reputed wealth
Brighton Argus (17 April 1912) Former Mayor of Chelsea
The Times (18 April 1912) MR. CHRISTOPHER HEAD
Chatham, Rochester, and Gillingham News (20 April 1912) Life insurance
Bridgwater Mercury (20 April 1912) Notable People on Board
News of the World (21 April 1912) Lost in the Titanic
Hays, Head, Stead, Straus, Guggenheim

Documents and Certificates

Graves and Memorials

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Comment and discuss

  1. Brian J. Ticehurst

    I was recently given some information on Mr.s Heads third memorial - so here is his updated Biography: Head, Mr. Christopher. First Class Passenger. Missing. Cabin B11. London address c/o Henry Head & Co., 27, Cornhill, London, E.C. There is a brass memorial to Mr. Head in St Nicolas Church, Old Shoreham, Sussex. Money for a memorial painting was raised and the artist Miss N. Labouchere was commissioned to paint Mr. Heads portrait in his full Mayoral outfit. The memorial painting exists today and and be viewed on request at the Central Library, Hornton Street, Royal Borough Of ... Read full post

  2. Mike Poirier

    Hello Brian This is excellent info. I had no idea Mr. Head was a mayor. It was a very interesting read. Thanks Mike

  3. Ben Holme

    Excellent info, Brian. There is more information on Christopher Head contained in the above post than I have ever come across elsewhere. It's a pity that his actions and movements aboard Titanic have passed entirely without record. Best regards, Ben

  4. Martin Williams

    I agree that it is odd that Christopher Head's activities aboard the 'Titanic' should have gone so completely unrecorded. To the best of my knowledge, not a single survivor made any reference to him, either immediately after the sinking or in subsequent years. Undoubtedly, this was because so many of his fellow travellers in first-class were Americans - hence, he was unlikely to have been known to any of them before-hand. Nevertheless, having very recently served as the Mayor of Chelsea (although certainly NOT of London, as the title of this thread implies!), one imagines Head to have had a... Read full post

  5. Brian Ahern

    Thanks for providing those links, Martin. It is surprising that no one mentions Head, especially since he appears to be a very handsome and imposing-looking man. I think the upwardly mobile Edwardian-Victorian middle classes make for fascinating reading, whether fictional families like the Cazalets and Forsythes (well, okay, I've actually only seen the miniseries adaptations), or real-life families like the Shands, Cubitts, Heads, Pearses, Ismays, and Woolners.

  6. Stanley C Jenkins

    I don't think it is entirely true to say that Christopher Head was ignored in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster. In addition to the newspaper reports mentioned above, he was also one of the people mentioned in some detail in The Times, which contained the following obituary. "CHRISTOPHER HEAD - Mr Christopher Head was the fifth son of the late Mr Henry Head, a well-known London underwriter. He was in his 43rd year, and was educated at Lancing end at Trinity College Cambridge. Called to the Bar as the Inner Temple, he practiced for a time in the Admiralty Division and on the... Read full post

  7. Mark Baber

    LOL! Without having seen Stanley's message, I just added the same item from The Times to Head's passenger page info. The online archive is a wonderful thing, isn't it, Stanley?

  8. Stanley C Jenkins

    I have just had a look at Christopher Head's biographical details - which could probably be much enhanced by the addition of some of the new data that has appeared in this thread(?) Just a thought, however, but I would not have described him as a "politician", he was primarily who had also joined family stockbroking firm.

  9. Stanley C Jenkins

    I have just spotted an error in the previous message and as I cannot alter it or delete it I had better repeat the entire message, which should have said: "I have just had a look at Christopher Head's biographical details - which could probably be much enhanced by the addition of some of the new data that has appeared in this thread(?) Just a thought, however, but I would not have described him as a "politician", he was primarily a lawyer who had recently joined family stockbroking firm".

  10. Martin Williams

    I wasn't really suggesting that Christopher Head was 'ignored', Stanley, but rather, that it is astonishing that no survivor left any kind of recollection of him at all. It is abundantly clear that the first-class passengers were a terrifically social and gregarious bunch and, unless he remained in his cabin for the duration of the voyage (which seems most unlikely), it is surprising that Head didn't come into contact with anybody who later recorded their impressions of him. As I've said above, one can only assume that, as an Englishman travelling alone, he passed 'under the radar' for the... Read full post

  11. Stanley C Jenkins

    Hello Martin, I understand what you are saying, and would agree that he does not crop up in the survivors' recollections - I was merely pointing out that there was, in fact, a considerable amount of detail about Mr Head in the post-disaster press reports. I think it is entirely logical to suppose that he may have made many new friends aboard the ship, but if none of them had survived there would be no recollection of him. Just a thought, but a party of unaccompanied Edwardian gentlemen who had formed a social group in the earlier part of the voyage would probably have been the sort of... Read full post

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Christopher Head
Age: 42 years 3 months and 21 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Ethel Georgina Mary Hill-Trevor, née Chapman
Last Residence: in
Occupation: Politician
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113038, £42 10s
Cabin No. B11
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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