Encyclopedia Titanica

John Poole Penrose

Bedroom Steward

Mr John Poole Penrose was born at Market Street in Mary Tavy, Tavistock, Devon, England on 18 August 1862 and was baptised in the local Wesleyan Methodist Church on 15 October that year.

The child of Cornish parents, he was the son of Richard Penrose (b. circa 1828), a grocer originally from St Ives, and Sarah Jane Strike (b. circa 1831) of Penzance.

He had five siblings: William (b. circa 1855), Ada (b. 1858), Richard (b. 1860), Annie Lorey (b. 1866) and Edward Alexander (b. 1869).

John and his family left Mary Tavy shortly after his birth, settling in Toxteth, Liverpool, the reasons for which are unclear; his father’s absences from the 1871 through 1881 census records suggest he may have taken a career at sea. He died sometime prior to 1891 whilst his mother died in 1907. 

Penrose may have been working at sea since the 1880s; by September 1899 he was a steward aboard Majestic, giving his address as 29 Eaton Avenue and was serving aboard the same ship and living at the same address by September 1902. By the following year he was a steward aboard Cedric and by then living at 4 Lawton Road, Waterloo and was still working aboard her until the latter half of 1904.

John was married in Liverpool's St Michael in the Hamlet Church in Toxteth on 5 September 1887 to Florence Annie Griffiths (b. 18 February 1865 in Liverpool) and the couple had a total of four children: Reginald Poole (b. 1891), Florence Dorothy (b. 1897), Rita Victoria (b. 1901) and Cecil Kenneth (b. 1905). Their two youngest children, Rita and Cecil, both died as infants. 
The 1901 census shows Penrose and his family living at 29 Eaton Avenue, Litherland and he was described as a mariner. Following years of living in Liverpool John and his family moved to Southampton, perhaps around 1907 to coincide with the White Star Line's decision to move its main terminal to that city. They appear on the 1911 census living at 13 South View Road, Shirley and he was still described as a ship's steward for the White Star Line.

Penrose was transferred from the Olympic and when he signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 he gave his address as 13 South View Road, Southampton1. As a first-class bedroom steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s and came aboard Titanic at 6 am on 10 April.

John Penrose died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate, worth £131, 3s, 4d was administered to his widow Florence on 2 August 1912 and she further benefited from the Titanic Relief Fund.

In ever loving memory of John Poole Penrose, the beloved husband of F. A. Penrose.—Hampshire Independent, Saturday 17th April 1915

Florence never remarried and in later years eventually to Surrey to be closer to her daughter; she died on 21 April 1948.
Their son Reginald was married in Southampton in January 1917 to Ethel Katie Clements but, however, he was killed in action on 16 August that year whilst serving in the second Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in West Vlaaneren, Belgium.

John's daughter Florence was married in Bournemouth in 1931 to Eric Crudgington Fernihough (1905-1938) from Birkenhead but she is not believed to have had any surviving children. She relocated to Surrey and died in Byfleet on 19 February 1982.

Notes

  1. The U.S. Senate list gave his address as Southern Rd, Southampton.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr John Poole Penrose
Age: 49 years 7 months and 28 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Religion: Methodist
Marital Status: Married to Florence Annie Griffiths
Last Residence: at 30 Southview Road, Inner Avenue Southampton, Hampshire, England
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Belfast on Monday 1st April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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Newspaper Articles

Exeter Flying Post (20 April 1912) Devonians on Board (5)

Documents and Certificates

1881 Census (England)
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund (Penrose)
(1912) United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List, Titanic Inquiry Project
(1912) PENROSE: Probate Information
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Comment and discuss

  1. John Pnrose

    John Pnrose said:

    Re: Does anyone have any more information = my grandathers name was Patrick and my Dad's name John Penrose which seems to suggest John Poole Penose may have been my great grandfather

  2. John Brown

    John Brown said:

    John Poole Penrose was married to Florence Annie Griffiths. He had the following children Reginald Poole Penrose (1891 - 1917), Florence Dorothy Penrose (1897 - 1982) note:- Florence was to later marry Eric Crudgington Fernihough (world speed record holder and Swedish Grand Prix winner, Rita Victoria Penrose (1901 - 1902) and Cecil Kenneth Penrose (1905 - 1905)

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Acknowledgements

Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK