Encyclopedia Titanica

Henry John Spinner

Harry Spinner

Harry Spinner  expand to show Harry with his father George and wife Harriet and daughter maude aged c.18m
Courtesy of Carol Roice

Mr Henry John Spinner was born in Worcester, Worcestershire, England on 26 April 1880 and was later baptised on 27 June that year.

He was the youngest son of George Spinner (1843-1924), a glove cutter, and Ellen Taylor (1844-1904), both Worcester natives who had married on 4 September 1864 in St Clement's Church in Worcester.

He had eight known siblings, several of whom died in infancy: Emma (b. 1865)1, George (b. 1867), Annie (b. 1869), Charles (b. 1870), Ellen (b. 1871), Elizabeth (b. 1872), William Albert (b. 1875) and Edith (b. 1882).

Henry first appears on the 1881 census living at Lower Cheshunt Street in Claines, Worcestershire but would be living at 29 Friar Street in St Helen's, Worcestershire by the time of the 1891 census where his father was the innkeeper of the Crown Inn. His family would later move back to their Lower Cheshunt Street address. As a young man aged 15 he rescued a young boy from drowning when he dived into a Worcester canal fully clothed and dragged the boy to safety. He was an excellent swimmer having won both trophies and medals for swimming.

Henry served in the Royal Marines during the Russo-Japanese War when he was stationed on the HMS Orion in the China Seas. He was listed on the 1901 census as an unmarried soldier based in Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He later became glove cutter, like his father before him.

Henry was married in his native Worcester in 1907 to Harriet Alice Walker (b. 1880 in Worcestershire, the daughter of Alfred and Harriet Walker) and they had one child, a daughter, Alice Maud Winifred, who was born late the following year. The family settled in Yeovil, Somerset, perhaps shortly after Henry and Harriet were married, and appeared  on the 1911 census living at Glenville Road, Yeovil. He was reportedly a member of the local football team.

Spinner boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 369943 which cost £8, 1) and he was headed for Gloversville, New York to take up a position at a glove cutting factory there. 

Henry Spinner died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His widow Harriet was never remarried and in later years lived at Cambersley Road, Worcester. She died on 23 September 1949 aged 69.

Henry's daughter Alice was later married, becoming Mrs Cecil J. Smith. She also remained in Worcester and died in 1968.


  1. Harry's eldest sister, Emma, emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 18.  She went with her mother's brother, Walter Taylor and his 10 year old daughter.  They travelled on the sailing ship Waitangi out of Tilbury on 25 October 1883, arriving in Canterbury on 13 January 1884.

References and Sources

Worcester Journal April 27, 1912, Article
British Census 1881
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
Birmingham Daily Gazette, April 16 1912 - April 29 inc.

Newspaper Articles

Worcester Journal (27 April 1912) Obituary (5)
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Iain Stuart Yardley

    I read somewhere that Henry John Spinner of Worcester, England, once saved the life of a child who had fallen into a canal. This was a few years previous to his drowning on the Titanic. Does anyone have more information on this?

  2. Iain Stuart Yardley

    Answered my own question after finding some notes I made years ago. Henry John Spinner, 31, of Chestnut St, Worcester, was on his way to Gloversville, 200 miles from Worcester, Mass "to seek fresh fortune". His wife Alice and daughter Maud, 3, were to join him when he'd got a job and set up home. He was a glove-cutter by profession, learning his trade at Fownes of Worcester, but had left to join the Royal Marines, serving aboard HMS Orion in China waters during the Russo-Japanese War. He left the Royal Marines 5 or 6 years prior to Titanic. During that time, he returned to the... Read full post

  3. Brian Meister

    Dear Iain, Mr Spinner was heading to Gloversville, New York, to take up a position at the Fownes glove cutting facility there. Interesting about the rescue, as I had not seen the report before. Thank you for sharing. Brian

  4. Dawn Hughes

    Dawn Hughes

    Hi,Brian and Iain, have just found these messages. have been trying to find out for some time who my grandad was due to go to the states with. He was a glove cutter too, and lived near to Henry Spinner. My grandads name being Joseph Alfred Taylor. He had the opportunity to go, but decided against it at the last minute apparently - good for me, otherwise i wouldnt be here!! Now I have discovered who the person was, I am trying to find out anything I can about him or his descendants. If you have any further info I would be grateful. Thanks a lot Dawn

  5. Iain Stuart Yardley

    Hello Dawn, Please bear with me. I've been trying to find the original notes I made about Spinner but do you think I can put my hands on them??? I remember there was a nephew (?) still alive who was a long-term resident of a hotel in Worcester city centre and that's who I'm trying to find for you. As soon as I find the notes, I'll let you know. Cheers, Boz

  6. Dawn Hughes

    Dawn Hughes

    Hi Boz thanks a lot. I look forward to hearing from you. I see from your profile that you're in Dudley. I am only in Telford. Did you manage to see the exhibition in Dudley a few years ago which featured chains such as the ones created for the Titanic? (if memory serves me correctly). I couldnt get across, but I do know that one of the survivors attended - possibly Milvina Dean. regards Dawn

  7. Iain Stuart Yardley

    Hello Dawn, Yep, I attended the opening night of the exhibition - 1997 I think it was. I loaned the museum a few books and notes and even did a bit of background painting. Millvina was unable to attend as she was ill. I think she attended a week or so later - I remember her being pictured in the Express and Star with a lifebelt round her neck. No comment. Apart from "tacky". The chains were made in Netherton, at Hingley's in Washington Street. My Nan was born in Washington Street and she recalls her older sisters telling her about the day the anchors left Netherton bound for... Read full post

  8. Iain Stuart Yardley

    Dawn, I found the notes - I've e-mailed you privately with info on Spinner's nephew. Cheers, Boz

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Henry John Spinner (Harry)
Age: 31 years 11 months and 19 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Harriet Alice Walker
Occupation: Glove Cutter
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 369943, £8 1s
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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