Elsie Bowerman

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Elsie Bowerman
Elsie Bowerman circa 1910.jpg
Elsie Bowerman (c. 1910)
Personal details
Born 18 December 1889
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England,
United Kingdom
Died 18 October 1973 (aged 83)
Hailsham, East Sussex, England,
United Kingdom
Political party Women's Social and Political Union

Elsie Edith Bowerman (18 December 1889 – 18 October 1973) was a British lawyer, suffragette and RMS Titanic survivor.

Early life

Elsie Edith Bowerman was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the daughter of William Bowerman and his wife Edith Martha Barber. Her father died when she was 5 years old. She went to Wycombe Abbey at the age of 11 in 1901 where she came under the influence of Frances Dove, whose biography she wrote. She left in 1907 spending time in Paris before going to Girton College Cambridge. She and her mother became active members of Emmeline Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) which campaigned vigorously for the extension of the franchise.

Aboard the Titanic

On 10 April 1912 Elsie Bowerman and her mother Edith boarded RMS Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers in cabin 33 on deck E, for a trip to America and Canada to see her father's relations in North America. They were both rescued on lifeboat 6.

Later life

After the Titanic disaster, they reached America and carried on with their plans to visit British Columbia, Klondyke and Alaska.

During World War I Bowerman worked with the Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service in Romania and in March 1917 had had to retreat to St Petersburg where she witnessed the Russian Revolution at first hand. Back in England in 1917 she carried on with her suffragist work and supported the Pankhursts in organising mass meetings to encourage men to join the Forces and women to volunteer for war work.

After the war, Bowerman studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1924. She was the first woman barrister at the Old Bailey and practised until 1938. During World War II she worked for two years with Women's Voluntary Services, and after a time at the Ministry of Information spent three years with the Overseas Services of the BBC. In 1947 she went to the United States to help set up the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On her return she lived near her mother at St Leonards-on-Sea, and then moved to a country house near Hailsham where she died after a stroke.


  • Stands there a School – Memories of Dame Frances Dove, D.B.E., Founder of Wycombe Abbey School (1965)

See also



The archives of Elsie Bowerman are held at The Women's Library at the Library of the London School of Economics, ref 7ELB

External links

  • Extract from Helena Wojtczak Notable Women of Victorian Hastings
  • Elsie Bowerman Death Certificate on Titanic-Titanic.com
  • Encyclopedia Titanica
  • Elsie Bowerman Titanic Pages biography

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