Mr William Edward Hipkins

William Edward Hipkins

Mr William Edward Hipkins, 55, was born in Birminghan, Warwickshire on 1 January 1857,1 the son of Mr G. F.2 and Rebecca Hipkins.

Hipkins was educated between 1868 and 1872 at the Birmingham Grammar School, and later, until 1875 by private tutors while travelling the United States and in the Continent. In 1875, by way of apprenticeship, he worked as an engineer's toolmaker and machinist at the family firm in Edgbaston, Birmingham. In 1880 he began a two year term in the firm's drawing office and then, in 1882, was appointed assistant manager. From 1886 until 1889 he was manager of the firm.

In 1890 Hipkins became manager of J & E Wright Ltd (steel rope manufacturers) of Birmingham, a position he held until 1895. He was also author of the book "The wire rope and its applications"

Hipkins then became manager of James Watt & Co. (late Boulton & Watt) engineers at the Soho Foundry and managing director of W. T. Avery Limited (weighing machinists & engineers). He was also a director of Birmingham Small Arms and retained a directorship in J. & E. Wright. He was also Life Governor of the University of Birmingham and was the main initiator in setting up the University's Faculty of Commerce (now called the Business School). He was elected a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1898.

In 1912 Hipkins resided at two addresses, 16 Augustus Road, Birmingham where he lived generally and 50 Albert Hall Mansions, London which he used as his London base for business and travel. He took the train from Birmingham and stayed a couple days in London before taking the Titanic express boat train to Southampton. He travelled as a first class passenger (ticket number 680, £50) and occupied cabin C-39.

Hipkins died in the disaster, his body, if recovered, was never identified. He left a sister Bertha (born 1860). His wife had died in 1910.


  1. One source (IME) gives his date of birth as 1846, this is wrong. The 1881 census list him as aged 24.
  2. His father died prior to 1881.

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The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Andy Lound, UK
Keith Moore, UK (Senior Librarian & Archivist, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers)
Alan Tucker, UK

References and Sources

Proposal for Election to The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
British Census 1881
Birmingham Daily Gazette
, 16 April 1912 - 29 April inc.
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) William Edward Hipkins Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #159, updated 22nd October 2019 01:17:47 AM)