Mr Victor Robins

Mr Victor Robins was born in Westminster, London, England on 29 March 1867.

He was the son of a Birmingham-born father, Arthur John Robins (b. 1844), a stonemason, and a Scottish mother from Aberdeenshire, Mary Ann Forbes (b. 1847) who were married in mid-1866. Victor had six known siblings (from a reported total of eight): Oliver (b. 1871), Arthur (b. 1873), Philip (b. 1875), Eleanor Elizabeth (b. 1878), William (b. 1880) and Lillian (b. 1884).

He first appears on the 1871 census living with his family in Reeves Mews, St George's, London, moving to 4 Percy Road, Hammersmith by the time of the 1881 census. Victor had apparently left school by this stage but had no stated profession. 

He left England and arrived in New York on 28 June 1890 and settled in New York where he worked as a butler. He had made a return home to England in June 1897 aboard Lake Huron.

In his absence, his parents had become estranged from each other and were living apart. His father was shown on the 1901 census co-habiting with a married woman named Louisa Jane Mersey Imms, née Pewsey (1861-1951) whilst his mother and sister Lillian were living with in-laws in Croydon. His father died on 26 October 1907 whilst his mother passed away in 1938 in Surrey.

Back in New York, Victor was married to a French-born woman named Louisa De Loye 2 (b. 26 October 1861) and their only child, a son named George Victor was born on 26 May 1894. The family settled in Manhattan and they appeared there on the 1905 census as residents of East 53rd Street. He became a naturalised citizen on 25 April 1906; described as a butler, his then current address was 840 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

It is not clear how long Victor was in the employ of John Jacob Astor as butler and valet; he was described as "Astor valet" on a westbound voyage aboard Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse in December 1909 and in June 1911 accompanied Astor on a voyage aboard La Provence. 

He boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg on 10 April 1912 along with Colonel Astor and his new wife Madeline and her maid Rosalie Bidois (travelling on joint ticket number 17757 which cost £247, 10s, 6d). The Astors had been on their honeymoon in Europe following a high profile marriage.

Victor Robins, along with his employer Colonel Astor, died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His widow Louisa never remarried and continued to live in Manhattan with her son George whom she was also fated to outlive. George became an electrical engineer and later married a woman named Catherine Maroney (b. 1898), a nurse from Maryland, but had no children. They settled in Queens, New York and George died there on 6 February 1945. His mother Louisa, having weathered the loss of both husband and son, survived less than two years and passed away in Flushing, New York on 23 December 1946 aged 85. She was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Queens.

 

Articles and Stories

Unidentified Newspaper (1912) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. Kevin Barrett said:

    Hi, I just joined this site (just posted in "Introduce Yourself" a few minutes ago) and I thought I'd get my research going right off the bat! I'm interested in learning more about Victor Robbins, who was John Jacob Astor's manservant. There's TONS of info about Astor, but I've found next to nothing about Robbins. The reason I'm asking is that I'm fascinated by the idea of what might have transpired between these two men after the lifeboats had left. They both watched their wives sail away. Did they maintain there master/servant relationship? I just saw a quote from a newspaper... Read full post

  2. João Carlos Pereira Martins said:

    Hi again Kevin! I'm very interested in the servants too, not particulary in the Astor's, but I tried to find info in Google about the manservants and valets aboard Titanic, with few results. Regarding your questions and doubts, I think there was no much to do besides wait after all the boats were gone. Colonel Astor and Robbins were perfectly conscious about the danger of the situation and they knew the ship was going under. I never saw any records of valets atemping to escape in boats and apparently the majority of them maintained the dignity until the very end. I read some... Read full post

  3. Kevin Barrett said:

    Hi João! Thanks for your thoughts and insight. And you're absolutely right about Robbins' wife not being on board; I don't know what I was thinking. :-) I had read previously that Astor freed the pets, but I was beginning to wonder if that was apocryphal, like the reports that his body was found crushed and covered with soot. I recently read three eyewitness accounts that clearly dispute that. Having read the newspaper account that Robbins brought Kitty to Astor, it occurred to me that he might have been the one who free the pets. Anyway, I'm trying not to draw any conclusions... Read full post

  4. João Carlos Pereira Martins said:

    You're welcome! Best, JC

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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany

References and Sources

Jay Henry Mowbray (ed.) (1998) Sinking of the Titanic, Eyewitness Accounts. Dover Publications, Mineaola, N.Y. ISBN 0 486 40298 3
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) Victor Robins (ref: #240, last updated: 10th May 2018, accessed 29th May 2020 13:08:41 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/victor-robbins.html