Encyclopedia Titanica

Robert Charles Bristow

Robert Bristow

Robert Charles Bristow was born in Belfast, Co Antrim, Ireland on 20 May 1873.

He was the son of English parents, Charles Stephen Bristow (1845-1906), a carpenter and cabinet maker, and Harriet Targett (1844-1914), natives of Warminster, Wiltshire and Southampton, Hampshire, respectively who had married in 1867.

Robert had five known siblings: Kate Rose Louise (1867-1921, later Mrs Alfred Hiscock; died as Mrs Jesse J. Savage), Mary Ann (b. 1869), Emily Ellen (b. 1876), Frank Henry (b. 1879) and Edward W. (b. 1881).

A few years prior to his birth Bristow's parents show up on the 1871 census living at Pot Heath (?), Crookham, Hampshire. Why Robert was born in Belfast is not certain but the family had returned to Southampton sometime prior to 1876 and he and his family appear on the 1881 census living at 2 Princes Street, St Mary, Southampton.

Robert would be absent from the 1891 census, perhaps already at sea but his family were by now living at 4 Marine Terrace, Southampton. Robert reappears on the 1901 census whilst visiting 15 Spring Road, St Denys, Southampton, the home of a Mr Henry Goding, but he had no stated profession. Also visiting that address at this time was Lily Anne Sophia Garrett (b. 1873 in Croydon, Surrey), Robert's fiancée.

Robert Charles Bristow

Robert and Lily were married in Southampton on 3 July 1901. The couple would have a total of five children but only two survived infancy: William Edward (1906-1982) and Arthur James (1910-1975). The family appear on the 1911 census living at 49 Southminster, West Ridge Road, Portswood, Southampton and Robert was then described as a ship's steward.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Robert  gave his address as 49 West Ridge Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic and as a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Bristow died in the sinking and his body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#290) and was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 6 May 1912.

Bristow Grave
Robert Bristow's grave in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, N.S. (© Bob Knuckle, Canada).


CLOTHING - Plain blue serge suit; steward's white coat, marked "Bristow"; cholera belt.

EFFECTS - Letter to "R.C. Bristow, 49 West Ridge Road, Portswood; 9s.; ship's key's, stewards's department".


His widow Lily continued to live at 49 West Ridge Road until her death on 16 December 1939.


The 1881 census gives his birthplace as Southampton. Robert himself gives his birthplace as Belfast on the 1901 and 1911 census records.

Comment and discuss

  1. Tim McCann

    Tim McCann

    There is a chance that I am related to this person that died on the Titanic because he bears my mother's maiden name and was from Southhampton like much of my family is. It is rumoured that he may be related to our family. Does anybody have any information about this man or know how I can find any on the internet? Thanks.

  2. Matteo Eyre

    I'm not sure if this is gonna help much but here i go I don't know anything about Mr Robert C Bristow but i wondered he was related to Mr Harry Bristow, as far as i know he was a Cornish Steward who died on the Titanic but had a wife named Ethel who he wrote to before he died hope this helped :)

  3. Bob Godfrey

    There's generally not much on record about the low-ranking personnel - age, name and address, job description, that's about it in most cases. According to the crew list Robert Bristow was a local man aged 31 and living at 49, West Ridge Road (or maybe Western Road), Portswood, Southampton. His wife's name was Lily and they had two sons, William and Arthur. There's a small photograph of him in the ET biography entry. By far the easiest way to look for connections like this is to work backwards through your own family records and recollections, in which case those are the names you need to... Read full post

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Robert Charles Bristow
Age: 38 years 10 months and 26 days (Male)
Nationality: Irish
Marital Status: Married to Lily Anne Sophia Garrett
Last Residence: at 49 West Ridge RoadSouthampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: 3rd Class Steward
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Southampton on Thursday 4th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 290)
Buried: Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on Monday 6th May 1912

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