18 April 2012
FAMILY MEMBERS down to six generations of W T Stead, former editor of the Northern Echo, who was a victim of the Titanic disaster 100 years ago, flew from Australia to commemorate the centenary of his death on London’s Victoria Embankment yesterday (Sun).
A dozen descendants of William Thomas Stead attended the wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial close by the Temple tube station.
The ceremony was organised by the Chartered Institute of Journalists whose members contributed ‘shillings and half-crowns’ in 1912 to erect the memorial.
Mr Richard Stead, a great-grandson of W T, of Falmouth, Cornwall, said: “We decided to arrange a family re-union when we heard of the Institute’s wreath-laying and seven members of the Australian branch flew over from Adelaide last week for the event.”
They included two-years-old Leahmarie Stead, the great-great-great-great-grandchild of W T and Matihilda Krichauff, aged 8, his great-great-great-granddaughter. Her father, George Krichauff, said: “We could not let the centenary of the death of my great-great-grandfather pass without being present. We are glad that journalists of today still respect W T and his achievements both in Darlington and in London.”
The wreath-laying was followed by a commemorative service at St Bride’s. the journalists’ church in Fleet Street, where the Rector, Canon David Meara, paid tribute to W T Stead’s career in Darlington and subsequently at the Pall Mall Gazette and the magazine he subsequently founded, The Review of Reviews.
“He stands in the finest traditions of fearless journalism. Fortunately there are still people like W T Stead who risk their lives to show interested people and shock the uninterested. Without people like him, we would all be the poorer. We remember W T Stead and all who have followed him in this noble tradition of journalism,” Canon Meara said.
The Australian branch of the family began when Henry Stead, W T’s eldest son, emigrated ‘down-under’ in 1913 to take over the editorship of his father’s Australian Review of Reviews. He also died at sea – of an illness aboard the S S Mamara off the shores of Tahiti in 1922.