Watches of a couple separated by the Titanic

19 November 2014 by Jen

Gold pocket watches belonging to Thomas and Ada Hewitt

These gold watches belonged to Thomas and Ada Hewitt; they were given to each other as gifts on their wedding day in 1902

A pocket watch belonging to a Liverpool man who died in the Titanic tragedy and his wife’s fob watch have been added to the award winning Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story exhibition. Displayed next to each other, the two gold watches of Thomas Hewitt and his wife Ada were exchanged by the couple as gifts on their wedding day in September 1902.

Until 1912 Thomas served as a bedroom steward on ships which sailed from Liverpool and his family lived locally in Orrell Park. However, since he was to work on RMS Titanic, the family were planning to relocate to Southampton, the liner’s home city.

Backs of watches showing date of their wedding and engraved inscriptions ‘From Tom to Ada’ and ‘From Ada to Tom’

As well as the date of the wedding, cuvettes of both watches contain engraved inscriptions ‘From Tom to Ada’ and ‘From Ada to Tom’

As part of his regular journey from home Thomas would take the train from Orrell Park into the city. Each time he was accompanied to the station by Ada with their daughter and son. On his last train journey he waved to his family until they were out of sight. After the disaster his wife wondered whether he had premonition as the train left, because this was the only time he had waved to them in that manner.

Thomas left Ada a widow with two young children to raise, who could not afford to have his body returned to Liverpool. As a result of his death on the Titanic, the family remained in Liverpool and Ada continued to live in the same house until she died in 1966.

It is said that Thomas Hewitt had his watch with him on board Titanic, but managed to safely pass it to a stewardess who survived and returned it to Ada. In 1999 both watches were given to the Merseyside Maritime Museum by the couple’s grandsons. They are very important objects in the collection, underlining the human drama of the Titanic tragedy.

The watches, as well as other personal belongings from the Titanic, are now on permanent display in the Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story exhibition.

Mrs and Mr Hewitt; Ada is wearing her watch

Mrs and Mr Hewitt; Ada is wearing her watch

(Comments are closed for this post.)

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.