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An interesting compensation case arising out of the Titanic disaster came before the Southampton County Court on Tuesday.  It concerned a victim named Klein, who was the second class barber, and during the hearing an insight was obtained into the earnings of barbers on Atlantic liners.

Klein, it was stated, was promoted from the Teutonic to the Titanic.  His widow claimed £300.

It was admitted that the barber only received 1s. a month from the company, who, however provided him with a shop and his food.  The claimant put the average earnings at £3, made up of tips, takings, and the proceeds of the sale of souvenirs.

For the company it was urged that there was no contract of service, and further that a barber was not a workman within the meaning of the Act.  Nevertheless a sum of £150 had been paid into court.

One witness, who had served as second class barber on the Titanic's sister ship Olympic, gave figures which showed that he made about £416 a year.

Thereupon one of the counsel remarked that he would have to give up the bar and become a barber.

The witness's figures for one voyage were made up as follows :-

Shaving. £8 8s.
Haircutting. £2 6s.
Shampooing. £2 10s.
Sale of souvenirs. £7
Toilet requisites. £2 10s.
Tips. £1 10s to £2.

In addition he put the value of his board and lodging on board at 21s.

The Judge : That makes about £26 for a short trip.

It was explained that everything in the barber's department cost 1s.

The Judge : Then I shall certainly not go on board. (Laughter.)

In cross-examination the witness altered his figures somewhat, but he maintained that he could make over £400 a year if permanently engaged on the Olympic.

The case was adjourned.

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Herbert Klein


Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) BARBERS WHO GROW RICH ON LINERS (Derby Daily Telegraph, Friday 14th August 1914, ref: #19244, published 18 January 2013, generated 26th July 2021 12:53:03 PM); URL :