Florence Minnie Wareham was the eighth child of George and Clara Wareham. She was born on the 20 February 1881 and baptised on 18 May 1881 at St Mary’s, Southampton. Her father was a pork butcher and his wife Clara and children helped him run the shop. George died in 1887 only 42 years of age leaving his wife with 10 children. Clara remarried in 1894 to Frederick Charles Bird, and around about this time most of Clara’s children started to go their own way — some moved to USA, one to Canada and two of the boys went to sea. The girls married or went into service as did my grandmother. My father Frederick Charles Wareham was born 16 March 1903 in Southampton Infirmary and until he was about seven brought up by his father’s family.
Grandma in England with children. About 1910.
Fred is the eldest boy.
In 1905 Florence married Ernest Albert Cole who worked on the Southampton Docks and also as a ship’s steward, and by 1910 Florence and Ernest had 3 children and Fred was returned to his mother. Fred got on well with his stepfather who was a kindly man. More children were born to the family. There was a family tragedy as baby Eva was sickly. Eva is credited with saving the family from a watery fate on the Titanic
because Ernest wanted to migrate with the family to Canada and my grandmother refused on the grounds of the child's ill health. The real reason was someone had painted on the side of the ship
not even God could sink this ship
— my grandmother thought that was tempting fate. Grandma was very superstitious if she broke two things she always went out and broke a third article. Edward Cole was in the army during World War I and I understand gassed. He died in 1926 from a chest infection. Two little girls had arrived soon after the war but my father wasn't there to support his mother as he emigrated in 1923. Grandma lived another 33 years dying in 1959. I think they were very poor and struggled to make ends meet. I can remember we sent them food parcels after World War II. I was always encouraged to write to
My Grandma in England
and in later years met 4 of my father’s siblings and received an impression of a loving family.