Sunday, 10 November 2013

Old Buckenham's Titanic connection

John Balls gives his talk
Last night there was an audience of some seventy people gathered in Old Buckenham Village Hall to listen to John Balls give a talk about Ellen Bird. This young lady had been brought up in a small cottage in Stacksford, a hamlet within the parish of Old Buckenham, and later was on that fateful first voyage of the Titanic. How she later got the job as maid to American millionnaires Ida and Isidor Strauss is still a mystery and something that John is very interested in finding out.
The talk was illustrated with snippets from a film about the Titanic which illustrated just how big the ship was and the luxurious facilities provided for those passengers on board. The story of how Ellen was one of those who boarded a lifeboat and survived contrasted with that of her employers who decided to stay together on board and subsequently drowned.
Ellen never returned to the UK and later married an American.
The cottage where she first lived, known as 'The Birdcage', still stands and is now named Fig Tree Cottage. Her parents, Samuel and his wife Maryann, are buried in Old Buckenham churchyard.

The organiser is most grateful to John Balls for agreeing to give the talk and all those who bought tickets to attend. This event was put on to raise funds for Old Buckenham Village Hall and, thanks to the generosity of those attending, will have raised over £500.

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