Ellen Bird - Titanic First Class Passenger
Miss Ellen Bird was a 31 year old, British, first class Passenger travelling to New York aboard Titanic as the maid of Mrs Ida Straus. Isidor and Ida Straus are amongst the most well-known of Titanicís passengers.
Along with Isidor Strausís servant, John Farthing, they boarded Titanic in Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912. She occupied first class cabin C97.
Ellen Bird, the daughter of Samuel and Maryann Bird, was born in Old Buckenham, Norfolk, UK on 8th April 1881.
While in Europe in 1912, Isidor and Ida Straus had been on the lookout for a new maid. After a maid they found left them at the last moment, they found and decided to employ Ellen Bird. Just two days after her 31st birthday she boarded Titanic.
On the night of the sinking she joined her employers on the boat deck. As has been reported in many newspapers, and has been seen in many Titanic films and documentaries, when her employer, Ida Straus, could have taken her place in Lifeboat 8, she decided to stay behind with her husband. It is said that when it was suggested that Isidor Straus, as an elderly gentlemen, be given a place in the boat, he refused, saying he will not go before the other men.
The Strausís encouraged Ellen to board the lifeboat, and before the boat was lowered Ida Straus gave Ellen her fur coat to wear. Ellen Bird survived the disaster; Isidor and Ida Straus and their other servant John Farthing were lost in the sinking.
After the sinking, she tried to return the fur coat to the Straus family; however, they told her that she could keep the coat as Ida Straus had given it to her. Also after the sinking, she was employed by the family of a fellow Titanic survivor, Frederic Spedden. She lived with them in New York.
At some point she married a Mr J Edward Beattie.
She died on Sunday 11th September 1949 in Rhode Island, USA. She was buried at Acushnet Cemetery, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Her husband joined her when he died in 1963.
In October 2011, a first class Titanic deck plan that had belonged to Ellen Bird was sold for £30,000 at an auction in Britain.