Encyclopedia Titanica

Henry Sutehall

Image Image

Mr Henry Sutehall Jr was born in Fulham, Middlesex, England on 23 July 1886 and baptised in Walham Green on 27 August that year.

He was the first son of Henry Sutehall (b. 1863), a plasterer, and Sarah Stanton (b. 1864), both of Fulham who had married in St John's Church, Walham Green on 2 August 1885.

One of five children, Henry's siblings were: Clara Jane (b. 1888), William (b. 1890), Ella (b. 1896) and Edwin Elmer (b. 1902). 
Henry and his family appear on the 1891 British census living at 243 Mayall Road, Brixton, London. However, on 16 March 1895 the family boarded the Paris at Southampton, travelling across the Atlantic to make their home in Buffalo, New York. Whilst in that city Henry's two younger siblings were born whilst his father continued to pursue his trade as a plaster in their new home, working on some of Buffalo's finest new constructions. One of those buildings was the cathedral on Delaware Street designed by architect and fellow Titanic passenger Edward Austin Kent. Henry's mother operated the family's corner store at 2852 Delaware Avenue at the intersection of Mang Street in Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo. The family appear on the 1910 census residing at 65 East La Salle Avenue, Kenmore, Erie, New York. 

Henry, called Harry by his friends and family, worked as a "trimmer", installing and repairing upholstery in carriages and early automobiles. It was at his workplace, E. E. Denniston's in Buffalo, that he met a young Canadian-born man named Howard Albert Irwin (b. 1887) who soon became his closest friend.

On 1 January 1910 Henry and Howard embarked on a world tour and travelled throughout the United States during 1910. As Howard recorded in a diary only recently recovered from the wreck of the Titanic:

On Jan. 1st, Harry Sutehall and myself started on a trip around the world. Working our way, stopping in all the principalities between Buff & Frisco. From there to Australia, then through the Suez Canal & Med. Sea to England. From there to New York and Buffalo we figure. With luck this trip will take us two years and with bad luck (WELL) we are going anyway.

When they were fortunate they found work at their trade as trimmers whilst at other times they worked at any job they could find, even picking peaches in California. In mid-1911, they left the United States for Australia. Finding employment in their profession, they remained there for a time. While in Sydney Henry met a young lady with whom he fell deeply in love. Research has not yet uncovered her name, but Henry's descendants tell the story of his young lady in Australia, to whom he had become engaged. His intentions, according to letters home, were to return eventually to Australia and marry this woman.

Neither Henry or Howard were wealthy people so it was a second piece of good fortune that Henry won a sweepstake that helped to fund the rest of the tour. Both were also musicians and it is likely that they were able to earn extra money in this way. Henry and Howard parted company when they left Australia but it is believed that they reunited briefly in Durban, South Africa and vowed to meet again in England early in 1912 to conclude the voyage home together.

Henry's movements during the time he and Howard were travelling separately are unknown. He eventually arrived in England to spend time with his many relatives that he had previously visited in England in 1907. Howard had arrived in Britain about a week prior Henry and the two reunited to spend time together, awaiting the day Titanic would depart.

Henry alone boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 and accompanying him were items of Howard Irwin's luggage.

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

In 1993 recovery efforts at the wreck site retrieved a steamer trunk which was taken to France for restoration. After 81 years at the bottom of the ocean Howard Irwin's personal possessions were found. Among the trunk's contents were love letters from 21-year-old Pearl Shuttle--a travelling musician--to Howard. Pearl died of pneumonia in October 1911 and it is possible that Irwin had received word of her illness and hastened home leaving some of his belongings with Henry.

Henry's father was appointed by the courts as Administrator of Henry's estate after his death and received $200 in damages from the White Star line on 14 March 1916. The family were living in Erie in Erie, New York until the mid-1920s but what became of them thereafter is uncertain.

Howard Irwin later married Ivy M. Curriston (1893-1959) and spent the rest of his life living at different locations around the USA. He died in Haledon, New Jersey on 23 September 1953.

References and Sources

Buffalo Evening News, 16 April 1912
The Buffalo News Titanic letters tell true story of lost love. 8 February 1998

Research Articles

Dave and Barb Shuttle Voyage (2000) A Tragic Friendship
How documents recovered from the wreck of the Titanic reveal a friendship which ended in disaster.

Newspaper Articles

Washington Herald (20 April 1912) FIRST CLAIM PAID
Search archive online


Gavin Bell, UK
Philip R. Bousquet, USA
Dave Shuttle, USA
Barbara Shuttle, USA

Comment and discuss

  1. jwolfe8125

    The biography on Henry Sutehall states that his father was a plasterer who worked on some of Buffalo New York's finest buildings. One of such buildings was stated as being a cathedral on Delaware Street. That building was actually a Jewish Temple located at 599 Delaware Avenue. It burned down in 1961.

  2. Arun Vajpey

    Henry Sutehall's story is quite interesting and poignant. While still in his early 20s, Sutehall and his friend Howard Irwin reportedly did a working tour all over the United States to earm money for a world tour. They are believed to have earned extra through their musical talent and that and some sweepstakes money that Henry Sutehall won helped to fund that tour. They ended up in Australia where Henry met and became engaged to a young woman. Sutehall and Irwin then parted for a few months touring on their own but meeting occasionally in other paces like South Africa before they both... Read full post

 Reply  Watch Thread

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Henry Sutehall Jr
Age: 25 years 8 months and 23 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Engaged
Last Residence: in London, England
Occupation: Coach Trimmer
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 392076, £7 1s
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch