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Great Loss of Life: Oceanic House & the Titanic Newsboy

Quietly sitting on Cockspur Street just yards away from Trafalgar Square is a grand Edwardian block known as Oceanic House.

Oceanic House

Oceanic House

The site was originally home to the Pall Mall restaurant where, on January 26th 1871 the Rugby Football Union was founded- an event now commemorated by a plaque.

Rugby Union plaque

Rugby Union plaque

Oceanic House was built between 1903 and 1906 as the London office for the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company– more commonly known as the White Star Line.

During their time, White Star operated many mighty vessels… the most famous being the luxurious RMS Titanic which sank during the early hours of April 15th 1912 whilst on her maiden voyage.

1,517 perished as a result.

The Titanic departs Southampton, 10th April 1912

The Titanic departs Southampton, 10th April 1912

Shortly after news of the Titanic’s fate reached shore one of the most iconic images associated with the disaster (and indeed the 20th century itself) was snapped outside London’s Oceanic House:

Newspaper boy bearing the  awful headline outside White Star's London office

Newspaper boy bearing the awful headline outside White Star’s London office, April 16th 1912

The newsboy clutching the poster was Ned Parfett, a 16 year old lad from Waterloo’s Cornwall Road.

In 1916, four years after the famous picture was taken, Ned enlisted in the army and soon found himself embroiled in the hellish trenches of the Great War.

Ned’s service was exemplary- he was awarded the Military medal for bravery.

Tragically, aged 22, Ned was killed by a shell on the 29th October 1918 just 13 days before the guns fell silent on the armistice.

Outside Oceanic House today... where Ned Parfett once bore newspapers announcing the fate of the Titanic

Outside Oceanic House today… where Ned Parfett once bore newspapers announcing the Titanic’s fate

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2 responses

  1. […] Oceanic House: the Trafalgar Square landmark with Titanic connections. […]

  2. […] Oceanic House: the Trafalgar Square landmark with Titanic connections. […]

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