Ayuntamiento de Uclés

Ayto. Uclés

Fermina Oliva Ocaña House

Calle del Carmen, 13
16452 Uclés, Cuenca

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This was the home of Fermina Oliva Ocaña, a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and one of the ten Spanish passengers on board during the fateful voyage. She was born to a middle-class family in Uclés on 11 October 1872.

Fermina moved to Madrid in search of a better life and earned a living as a seamstress. It was at her sewing workshop that she met a woman looking for a trustworthy companion to accompany a newly married couple on their honeymoon. The couple in question were the millionaires Víctor Peñasco Castellana and Mª Josefa Pérez de Soto y Vallejo Peñasco, and they were taking a two-year honeymoon travelling around Europe.

On 10 April 1912, the newly-weds and Fermina embarked on the Titanic, occupying two first-class cabins, one facing the other, on Deck C. On the night the Titanic sank, Fermina was in her cabin and, unable to sleep, was busy sewing her stays. She felt the impact, and soon after Víctor called her and she went up to the main deck with the couple.
Víctor was unable to accompany his wife to the lifeboat and forced Fermina to go with her instead, with the result that they were both saved while he remained on board and lost his life.

After the shipwreck, Fermina continued to live at her house on Calle Regueros in Madrid with her sister Manuela. She died there at the age of 97. The two spinsters earned their living as seamstresses and by renting out rooms in their house to students. Fermina maintained close ties with the town and the local residents throughout her life, spending most summers there.