A Titanic Survivor – Adolphe Saalfeld

Adolphe Saalfeld

Over one hundred years ago, on 15th April 1912, RMS Titanic, sank on its maiden voyage when it struck an iceberg. The majority of her 2,237 passengers perished in the disaster.

One survivor was Adolphe Saalfeld, a Manchester merchant and perfumier, who lived with his wife, Gertrude, in our parish in what is now Ward Hall, Lower Park Road, Victoria Park, within the Xaverian College. Saalfeld was of a German Jewish family and migrated to England in the 1880s.

Fr Ian gave a talk on Herr Saalfeld on the centenary of the disaster in Ward Hall itself, the home of Saalfeld at the time of the Titanic disaster.

Fr Ian interviewed about Saalfeld outside Ward Hall by BBC’s Jonathon Ali

Fr Ian talked about the fascinating history of Ward Hall (formerly Saville), and Saalfeld’s life with particular reference to the Titanic voyage. Saalfeld travelled first class and in letters to his wife described how he enjoyed the luxuries of the voyage. We even know what the last meal Saalfeld had on board was.

Saalfeld’s cabin was on C deck (a top deck) and opposite the cabin of John Jacob Astor IV, the most wealthy man on board.

Saalfeld’s Perfume Vials

Saalfeld was travelling with perfume samples, to offer his company’s wares to the American market. The samples were retrieved by marine archaeologists and this year have been used to create a commemorative perfume.

Saalfeld continued to live at Ward Hall for some years before moving to North London. He lived a quiet life after the Titanic disaster and the memories of the Titanic seriously affected his sleep. In London he would ask his chauffer to drive him at night to help his mind settle.

He died in 1926 and is buried with his wife, who died after him, in the Jewish section of Golders Green Cemetery.

We would be pleased to hear from anyone with connections with Mr Saalfeld or Ward Hall.


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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4 Responses to A Titanic Survivor – Adolphe Saalfeld

  1. Astra Burka says:

    I am his great great niece.

    • Barbara Kochmit says:

      Astra – Is your gg uncle related to the Saalfield family of Akron Arthur and Albert, founders of Saalfield Publishers.

    • MaxxAleman says:

      Mrs. Burka, I have been trying to find if my father-in-law might be related to Mr. Adolphe Saafeld. I was wondering if you could help me in finding out if he is. Thank you.

  2. Irene M. Rand says:

    Hi my name is Irene and I have an unusual story to tell. Back in 1975 a friend of ours came into my Mom’s bar for the first time. He was born in San Francisco from a very good family and he was the so called black sheep of the family. Really he was a great guy. After his mom passed away my mom’s lawyer helped him get his fair share of the estate he gave my mom a few things that were his mom’s. To make things short here I will mention that one of the items he gave her was a small dresser scarf ( I guess that’s what it would be called) origanaly it would have a pillow inside the scarf and ladies would place a brush and comb on the pillow. I guess it was a gift set with a bottle of Maine Perfume. The name on the scarf was Maine perfume 1912. His mom bought two sets of this gift set. One was to be a bride’s gift set to give to her sister in Ireland and one she kept for herself. The story goes that while she visited her sister she got too drunk to get back on the ship. This part might need to be checked out. But now I have the case and I am trying to find a proper home for the scarf. I feel like it should go to a perfume museum or at least to a member of Mr Adolphe Saalfelds family. I have had it since my mom died in 2007 and now I have aggressive breast cancer and I don’t know how long I can fight it
    I have no children or grandchildren and my friends are mostly hillbillies and people who don’t understand the importance of a simple piece of cloth. I would like to see it go on and taken care of. I am not asking any money for it. Just an address were I can send it to. God bless those who read this.

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