Bulkhead Height

Nov 14, 2005
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At the meeting with Carlisle Ismay said to lower the bulkheads so they could make the decks wider, Wouldn't that be to make them longer? And which decks were made longer/wider...E, D decks? Anyway that turned out to be a bad meeting. Lower the bulkheads and reduce the number of lifeboats...2 things that made the situation worse.
 
May 3, 2005
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Story I have heard is that the watertight bulkheads didn't go high enough.
As Thomas Andrews says (I think in just about all the "Titanic" movies)) "- The water will get to the top of the bulkhead and overflow into the next, and then the next, and so on ....This ship will sink ! "
 
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At the meeting with Carlisle Ismay said to lower the bulkheads so they could make the decks wider, Wouldn't that be to make them longer? And which decks were made longer/wider...E, D decks? Anyway that turned out to be a bad meeting.
Which meeting was this one? What is the primary source for that?
Such claim is very popular but false. The high of the bulkheads were specified by the board of trade, no one be it Ismay, Andrews or others were able to change an "lower" them.


Lower the bulkheads and reduce the number of lifeboats...
Again what is the primary source for it?
The ships ended up with 20 boats, 4 more than required by law.
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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I am glad the subject of bulkheads has come up and perhaps we can get a better understanding what the BoT regulations were at the time!
All I can find out it goes back to 1894 were stated any ship over 10,000 tons must have four water tight bulkheads three and half feet above the waterline giving them five compartments. Now If that was the case the Titanic well exceeded the figure by a long way with fifteen bulkheads. Were seven in the mid ship position where the boilers and coal bunkers are placed are ten feet above the waterline and the others front and back (Stern & Bow) are a deck higher. In fact there seem to be better protection at the back end than the front end! All I can think if the propeller got caught and snagged could well rip open the ship hull.
Before go any further with this thread do we have marine experts on this subject who know what the BoT regulations were at the time?
 
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Jan 5, 2001
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There's no evidence Ismay requested the watertight bulkheads be lowered in height compared to what Harland & Wolff proposed.

As an aside, watertight bulkhead height is only one factor of many aspects of the design of the watertight compartments. (It's not widely appreciated that some of Olympic's watertight bulkheads were actually lowered in 1912-13, even at the same time as others were raised.) A particular design feature that few people comment on is that the average watertight compartment on Olympic/Titanic as designed was much smaller as a proportion of the ship's length than the average watertight compartment on similar large liners of the period. They were similar to Lusitania/Mauretania in that sense.

On the issue of lifeboats, the available evidence - comparing the design proposals Ismay was presented with in July 1908 vs. Titanic's completed configuration in April 1912 - is that the capacity of Titanic's lifeboats increased 39% between those dates.* I covered this in detail, in my recent article for the British Titanic Society.

Unfortunately, as Ioannis pointed out, many questionable or downright false claims circulate even though there is no evidence to support them.

The Board of Trade regulations of the time are well documented, as are the recommendations of the Harland committee. I may get the chance to write something up in a week or so.

Best wishes

Mark.

[* The definition I am using is the total number of people the lifeboats could accommodate expressed as a percentage of the total passenger and crew capacity.]
 
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Mike Spooner

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Mark, thanks for the reply and look forward if you can sort out what the BoT regulations for bulkheads were at the time!

Mike.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I've read or seen that that that happened in docu's and articles. I didn't see any disputes so assumed it was correct. That was my bad. I stand corrected after digging into it deeper. You know what they say about assuming. Thanks for calling me out on it. Its why I like this site. A few reasons why I didn't question it when I should have like everything else written about Titanic.

1. "it was Thomas Andrews that first suggested that the new superliners have at least 46 lifeboats, water tight bulkheads with watertight tops that went all the way up to B deck, and a double hull to protect the ship from collisions. Though Andrews made great suggestions for the ships, most of his suggestions were ignored by upper management." ...Thomas Andrews – A Talented Designer That Met With A Tragic Fate
2. "Andrews's suggestions that the ship have 46 lifeboats (instead of the 20 it ended up with) as well as a double hull and watertight bulkheads that went up to B deck, were overruled."...Thomas Andrews - Wikipedia
3. "Alexander Carlisle, Harland and Wolff's general manager, and chairman of the managing directors, suggested that the Titanic use a new, larger type of lifeboat crane which could give the ship the potential to carry 48 lifeboats. If this had been installed onto the Titanic it would've provided enough seats for everyone onboard the ship. The White Star Line decided only 20 lifeboats would be carried"...Flaws - Titanic
4. Carlisle testified that he thought the bulkheads should be higher but he doesnt seem to remember why they weren't at the British inquries.
21460. What is your idea as to the deck to which the transverse bulkheads should reach?
-
They are carried pretty high at present, but there is no use carrying them up above what we call
the weather deck. That is
here.
Pointing on the model.
They ought to be carried up to that, in
my opinion; there ought to be as few doors fitted as possible, and those doors ought to be always
closed at night.
21461
. Can you say why in the construction of the “Titanic” the bulkheads were not carried
above E deck?
-
Well, I could not answer that question right off; I really do not remember the
pros and cons.
5. Agreed that a lot needs to be desired in this doucumentary if you go 5:15 they state that the bulkheads need to be lowered.
.

But I agree with you all that these statements dont prove anything about it actually happening at the meeting. I took it at face value when I shouldn't have.,,SteveC.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I don't have precise figures on hand, but the whole story is in the National Archive. Mark can probably fill in.

The standard Titanic had to meet was that with watertight doors shut and the two largest compartments flooded, the water would reach more than a prescribed distance below the top of the bulkheads. The distance was roughly two or three feet.

When the hull was nearly finished, calculations showed that it would not meet this standard by a few inches. In consultation with the Board of Trade officers, H & W agreed to reduce the ship's deadweight by a small amount, making her float higher in the water and enabling her to meet the standard. For every 143 tons removed, the ship rose one inch.

This wasn't the only tweak. As designed, the hull failed standards, because the collision bulkhead was too far forward. H & W therefore made a second bulkhead, further aft, and everybody was happy.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Steven, the issue is the websites, 'documentaries' and books which make these false claims. The major problem with learning about Titanic is both the quantity of information and the quality of it: there is an abundance of information out there, but all too little of it is accurate. Much of it seems to be simply made up. And, once inaccurate claims are made, they tend to be repeated and cited in secondary sources to such an extent that they can become accepted fact.

Many people take this information in good faith (and they should be entitled to) but the outcome is that so much of the information we see passed on is wrong. You're right when you imply it's necessary to be sceptical of everything written about Titanic. That's the sad reality.

Best wishes

Mark.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Yes you are right about that. I didn't see any disputes on what I was reading/seeing so I took it as fact when I should have dug more into it. A lot of what was taken as fact when I was younger about Titanic has been proven to be false. Titanic had a 300 ft tear in her hull and sunk in one piece...ect. A lot of what I once thought was true about Titanic back in the day has been proven to be wrong. But thats a good thing. Gives us a better picture of what happened. That can be said of any historical subject. I appreciate the dedicated researchers like you and the others who can seperate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. Anyway I hope you and all the others on ET have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays...SteveC.
 
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Dave Gittins

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Digging around, I find the bulkhead height was actually worked out during work on Olympic and carried over to Titanic. The final safety margin arrived at was 31". I've got more details somewhere, but my computer is acting up and it's not helping me locate them.
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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I don't have precise figures on hand, but the whole story is in the National Archive. Mark can probably fill in.

The standard Titanic had to meet was that with watertight doors shut and the two largest compartments flooded, the water would reach more than a prescribed distance below the top of the bulkheads. The distance was roughly two or three feet.

When the hull was nearly finished, calculations showed that it would not meet this standard by a few inches. In consultation with the Board of Trade officers, H & W agreed to reduce the ship's deadweight by a small amount, making her float higher in the water and enabling her to meet the standard. For every 143 tons removed, the ship rose one inch.

This wasn't the only tweak. As designed, the hull failed standards, because the collision bulkhead was too far forward. H & W therefore made a second bulkhead, further aft, and everybody was happy.
Hi Dave and Ssason greets too,
You mention the National Archive. Those who think to find out information from the National Archive is not easy as it looks! As I found out a few years ago now. First you have to past a computer exam before allowed anyway near the record department and given a swipe card to enter the room. Then you have to ask what you looking for and arrangement is made were it may take up to two weeks before can see it. But mention the word Titanic you can detect a wall of silence and questions are asked what is your interested in the subject! They will not give you the full story and very selective what is available. One can see this in authors who have an up hill battle to gain information's even in the sixty too!
One can't think there is an Government conspiracy for the real truth to out and a cover up is in operation!
Best luck to the ones who can find out and if you require any further information, as I do not live too from the National Archive record building in Kew Richmond, I am willing to give it a try.
Mark as I said before I look forward what you have found out.
Have a good one on Christmas day as I am waiting for the turkey to cook.

Best regards,
Mike.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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There's nothing secret about the National Archive records. That's for the tinfoil hat brigade. In about 1998 the then Public Office issued its horde of Titanic documents on a CD. It contains many hundreds of documents, down to some quite inconsequential scraps of paper. Among them are the records of the discussion over prosecuting Captain Lord and the long story of the bulkheads. Many of the specifications Michael mentions are included. My problem is that the CD was made for Windows XP and I can't get it to run properly, even with a virtual XP machine. My computer is getting to be like me, rather old and cranky!

Some things seem to have gone AWOL in the natural course of events. Mark Chirnside knows a great deal about this. For instance, some time ago Mark and I discovered evidence that Britannic was so named long before the Titanic disaster, but Mark wasn't able to find the ultimate paper needed.
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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Dave thanks for the tip: There's nothing secret about the National Archive records.
I will certainly give try it again and let you know how I got on.
I can see in the past the uphill battle Leslie Harrison had and probably over the years things have been a bit more relaxed open up nearer to the true. If there is coverup story how long can you keep under the lid as other authors were founding out to!
Titanic story is not the only coverup for a Government. In fact Governments around the world are littered with coverup to save there neck, to stay in power!
 

Ajmal Dar

Member
Jan 5, 2018
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Nottingham
I am glad the subject of bulkheads has come up and perhaps we can get a better understanding what the BoT regulations were at the time!
All I can find out it goes back to 1894 were stated any ship over 10,000 tons must have four water tight bulkheads three and half feet above the waterline giving them five compartments. Now If that was the case the Titanic well exceeded the figure by a long way with fifteen bulkheads. Were seven in the mid ship position where the boilers and coal bunkers are placed are ten feet above the waterline and the others front and back (Stern & Bow) are a deck higher. In fact there seem to be better protection at the back end than the front end! All I can think if the propeller got caught and snagged could well rip open the ship hull.
Before go any further with this thread do we have marine experts on this subject who know what the BoT regulations were at the time?
Dear Mike,
I am happy I have read your bit here about bulkhead heights.
Do you know why the Titanic was designed with last 6 bulkheads going up to D deck compared to the middle 6 bulkheads going up to the lower E deck. Why was it given this extra protection for about 350ft at the stern end of the ship. I can u derstand why the 1st two compartments went up to D deck, but not why the last 6 compartments did.
Best regards,
Ajmal
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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Hi Ajmar,
Bulkheads and lifeboat information. I have re registered into to the National Archives record office at Kew Richmond Surrey with my Readers Ticket swap card now.
Things have change over the years making it a lot easy to gain information. O though I was quite surprise the information person who has been there for years knows a lot more with the set up and computers systems that I do, took him nearly half an hour to give me the follower information on bulkhead and lifeboat regulation history. Ref: No TI/11557/14733. MT/920/347A and BT15/71. For me to read the record I would have to wait for an hour before getting the records out. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to spare as was on another case of the Government and rules regulation on public foot paths and bridleways, which we have on going problem at our local golf club. Clear case Councils Solicitors failing understand the law of the land as quoted from the record office! Sounds like some of the questions been asked as in the British Titanic Inquiry to?
I hope to get there soon, but I find it amazing been retired from work for years now were does the time go!
Mike.
 
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Ajmal Dar

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Jan 5, 2018
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Nottingham
Hi Steve,
I doubt lowering the bulkheads would make the Titanic any wider. The ship was the same width as the Olympic at 882ft 9inches. Also, lowering the bulkheads would not have made the ship any longer, it would just have got ridvan obstruction to walking through the ship.
Best regards,
Aj
Hi Ajmar,
Bulkheads and lifeboat information. I have re registered into to the National Archives record office at Kew Richmond Surrey with my Readers Ticket swap card now.
Things have change over the years making it a lot easy to gain information. O though I was quite surprise the information person who has been there for years knows a lot more with the set up and computers systems that I do, took him nearly half an hour to give me the follower information on bulkhead and lifeboat regulation history. Ref: No TI/11557/14733. MT/920/347A and BT15/71. For me to read the record I would have to wait for an hour before getting the records out. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to spare as was on another case of the Government and rules regulation on public foot paths and bridleways, which we have on going problem at our local golf club. Clear case Councils Solicitors failing understand the law of the land as quoted from the record office! Sounds like some of the questions been asked as in the British Titanic Inquiry to?
I hope to get there soon, but I find it amazing been retired from work for years now were does the time go!
Mike.
Dear Mike,
Thanks for the information you have provided.
Best regards
Ajmal