A matter of Gross Tonnage

Joshua Gulch

Mar 31, 2001
Greetings, ET board! It's been too long!

I've been working on things of a fairly Carpathia-n nature, and have come across a bit of a jam concerning the vessel's gross tonnage. Now I know that refers to a ship's internal capacity, but it's the numbers that's throwing me off.

The sources I've gathered are giving me three different figures for gross tonnage, and I'm at a loss to figure out which one is correct -- if any.

My sources right now are:
Sir James Bisset's "Tramps and Ladies," Ken Smith's "Tyne to Titanic," Brian Ticehurst's "The Titanic's Rescuers," Henrik Ljungström's information at The Great Ocean Liners, Encyclopedia Titanica's Carpathia page, and general arrangement plans from THS

This is what each source gives:

THS general arrangement plans: 12,500

Smith's "Tyne to Titanic" &
Ljungström's TGOL webpage: 13,555

Cunard ad reprinted in Ticehurst,
Bisset's "Tramps and Ladies" &
Encyclopedia Titanica: 13,603

I think I'm more likely to take the 13,603 figure because one would assume that Bisset would be correct in a matter such as this, he being Second Officer and all. The period Cunard ad gives that number, with Brian Ticehurst and his paper both being references on ET's Carpathia info page.

The 12,500 figure on the THS plans comes from Joseph Carvalho. I'm given to say that since the plans depict the ship as-built, then perhaps the gross tonnage was increased after later refits? After all, wasn't Olympic's?

Smith and Ljungström both give 13,555. I know I've seen this elsewhere too. A mistake that just keeps getting repeated, perhaps?

If anyone can assist me in this matter, I would be very thankful.


Dave Gittins

Apr 11, 2001
Lloyd's Register gives 13,603 GRT. That's good enough for me.

It's possible that the figure varied a bit over the years, as changes were made to her accommodation. You just have to enclose a bit of previously open deck and up goes GRT.
Sep 2, 2009

The figure I have seen in most case's is the 13,603 figure as I have seen it on postcards and ads.

Here are a few more source's by the major ocean-liner Historians's that use this figure.

13,603 - Wooleey & Moore - The Cunard Line a Pictorial History

13,603 - Gibbs - Passenger Liners of the Western Ocean

13,603 - Smith, Trans-Atlantic Passenger Ships Past & Present

13,603 - Braynard & Miller - Picture History of the Cunard Line 1840 - 1990

13,603 - Cairis - North Atlantic Passenger Liners Since 1900

However - 13,564 is the figure Kludas uses in Great Passenger Ships of the World Volume 1: 1858 -1912

Joshua Gulch

Mar 31, 2001
Thank you for the confirmation of the 13,603 figure. I don't have access to a copy of Lloyd's Register unfortunately.

Thanks also for the list of sources, none of which I have in my collection. :-( Looks like I have some shopping to do.


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