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 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 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.