As Elizabeth Allsop stared lovingly into the crinkled face of her newborn son, she could never have guessed that tiny Alfred Samuel Allsop would one day play an integral role in one of the most well-documented disasters in the history of man. Alfred would directly contribute to the lights and power of the Titanic staying on for as long as possible before it plunged to the depths of an icy ocean, enabling many passengers to find their way to the lifeboats, which in turn saved their lives. As a consequence of his brave and selfless actions Alfred lost his life that night and his body was never to be recovered.
Alfred was born about July of 1876 at 96 Brunswick street, Medlock-on-Chorlton, Manchester, England. He was the 12th child of 13 children born to George Foster Allsop and Elizabeth nee: Walker. At a very early age Alfred developed an interest in electricity and worked or was apprenticed to a number of companies interested in developing ship telephones or electrical switchboards. A list of the companies that Alfred worked for are:
- H H Hall and Company, Liverpool – a company pioneering the use of ship telephones
- Campbell & Isherwood, Bootle – development of switch boards
- Hame Electricity – Liverpool
- Northern Electric Company – Liverpool
Alfred then joined the White Star Line on the ship “Baltic”
Not long afterwards in August of 1904 Alfred started aboard the Celtic II, also of the White Star Line, as an Assistant Electrician and later served on the Majestic and the Oceanic.
Alfred is recorded as having sailed the Atlantic a hundred times before he joined the crew of the Titanic.
By this time Alfred had met and fallen in love with Hilda Barnes and the young couple were married on 17 October 1908 at All Saints Church, Princes Park, Liverpool England. Alfred and Hilda’s only son Phillip Alfred was born just over 2 years later on 2 February 1911 in Southampton.
From the research of Victoria O’Hare:
Alfred would be absent from the 1911 census but his wife and son were listed as visitors at 15 Suffolk Avenue, Shirley, Southampton. When he signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 134 Malmesbury Road, Freemantle, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Oceanic and as an electrician he could expect monthly wages of £11.
The following is from the research of http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/alfred-samuel-allsop.html
He (Alfred) had an inventive mind, and it was he who developed an idea for a multi-clutched lifeboat winch powered by an electric motor, which would allow fully laden lifeboats to be lifted from a ship straight into the water. This invention became ‘The Allsop Electric Lifeboat Crane’, but he did not see his device go into production. When the White Star Line moved their headquarters to Southampton he moved to that town. He was one of the transfer crew which brought the Titanic to Southampton on 2 April, where he signed-on as second electrician.
Alfred was aboard the Titanic on it’s ill fated maiden voyage right from the start. This was by far the most luxurious ship of the day, by all accounts – unsinkable, and perhaps Alfred felt he would be a part of something very special as they sailed from Southampton on April 10th, 1912. As we know, just before midnight on April 15, 1912 the Titanic hit an iceberg resulting in her sinking just 3 hours later.
From research provided by the website, Encyclopaedia Titanica, we know that Alfred was doing the last shift of the day from ten until one minute to twelve in the generator room at the time of the collision. Alfred and his colleagues kept power, and therefore essential lighting, working for a total of 2 hours and forty minutes, almost triple the length of time that was initially thought possible. They were responsible for helping to save hundreds of lives that night, by allowing desperate people to see and board the lifeboats.
The following article appeared in The Manchester Evening News on Thursday 18 April, 1912
Mr. Alfred S. Allsop, the chief electrical engineer of the Titanic, who, it is feared, has gone down in the ill-fated ship, was a Manchester man. He was about 35 years of age, and was born in Brunswick Street, C.-on-M., but he has not lived in the city for the last eight years.
Mr. Allsop was transferred from the Oceanic, another White Star Liner, about a fortnight ago, but has crossed the Atlantic in all about a hundred times in other vessels of the company, namely the Baltic and Majestic. He left Manchester to take up an appointment on the Baltic, and when the White Star officials changed their headquarters from Liverpool to Southampton he removed to the latter port.
Mr. Allsop was married about two years ago and had one child. He was well known in the Broughton district, where he lived for some time.
All 25 engineers lost their lives.
Hilda found it hard to raise young Phillip on her own and, according to the research of Brian Ticehurst, she made a submission to The Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund in March of 1913 – see below:
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund
Number 24. Allsop, Hilda Widow. Allsop, Phillip A (child). Class B dependents.
On Thursday 23 April 1914 Hilda finally received help, per below:
Titanic Relief Fund Minute Book number 2, Southampton Area
Thursday 23rd April 1914
Case number C24. That Mrs. Hilda Allsop be granted the sum of £1 0s 0d for assistance with expenses due to the illness to her little boy.
Alfred is my husbands 2nd cousin twice removed so you could say that the family relationship is quite distant, but regardless of that fact, Alfred had a very interesting life story to tell. I was lucky enough to stumble across his name on my Ancestry tree, which immediately linked me to another Ancestry member. Victoria has kindly given me permission to use her research as a starting point for my post.