Children allowed in RW Room

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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Since the Smoking Room was a male preserve and you had to be an adult to enter it, was the Reading and Writing Room a preserve only for adult women, like the Smoking Room, or were children, male or female, allowed in this room. And what age did you have to be to enter the Smoking Room and, if it is only for adult women, the Reading and Writing Room.
Any replies are greatly appreciated.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Matt,

From what I have seen, the only room that had any sort of restriction was the Smoking Room. The Lounge and R&W room allowed passengers of both sexes, and thus children etc to use the room.

Daniel.
 

Matt Simons

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I heard though that the R/W Room was a female preserve. Built because the Men had the Smoking Room.
 

Bob Godfrey

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If I remember right, the printed guide issued to 1st Class passengers specifically mentions only the dining room at regular meal times as a no-go area for children. In most respects there were no hard and fast rules laid down because it could be expected that passengers would behave according to the conventions of their particular level of society. Where that didn't work, a polite suggestion from a steward would generally suffice.

Thus it wasn't really necessary to place a 'men only' sign on the door of the Smoking Room, or to formally ban children from areas where they might disturb the peace of adults. At the higher levels of society at home, most families preferred their children not only to be 'seen and not heard' but preferably not seen much either! They lived in their own part of the house under the care of servants, and were expected to be on their best behaviour when in the company of Mama, Papa or their friends.

In 3rd Class, of course, home life was very different and the whole family lived together. On ship, nobody would expect any change in those arrangements so children were to be found in all public areas and enjoyed a lot more leeway in terms of acceptable behaviour, though respect for their elders and immediate obedience was still expected. If the young 'uns became too boisterous, a sharp "Oi! Behave!" would generally restore order; if not, retribution would be swift and effective (and not much resented).
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Matt Simons

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Does anyone know what age you had to be to be considered an adult, to enter the Smoking Rooms during the gilded age. And at what age would they not allow male's to enter the lifeboats. Was it 15,16,17,18 or something else.
Thanks!
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hello Matt,

Looking at Titanic's: Certificates for Clearance, anyone aged 12 years and upwards counted as an adult.
I have no idea what the Smoking Room rules were. As for the lifeboats, Jack Ryerson was initially denied access.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nobody arrived at a lifeboat bearing proof of age, so it was really a matter of whether or not the officers and crew on the boat deck considered any particular boy to look the part of a child. This was at a time when the age at which most people left school and took on the adult responsibilities of a working life was 13. In the case of men like Lightoller, that meant an early introduction to the hard and dangerous life of a seaman. So it's understandable that many of these men were not prepared to give any priority to male teenagers when it came to 'women and children first'. There was reluctance even to allow 9-year old Willie Coutts into a boat. His mother believed that he might have looked 'too adult' due to nothing more than the fact that he was wearing a man's straw hat.
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Matt Simons

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What if you were a jew or black or another race not treated nicely by people in the gilded age. Would they of let them into a lifeboat if they were female.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Certainly. The list of survivors was just as cosmopolitan as the passenger list - rather more so, in fact, because by far the largest ethnic group on board, the British 'WASPS' (white Anglo-Saxon protestants), had one of the lowest survival rates. The policy on the boat deck was to fill the boats wherever possible with women and children, and there's no evidence that anybody had the time or inclination to be more selective than that.
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Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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There were plenty of Jews aboard Titanic, and one family of mixed race- the father was Haitian and the mother was French European. The wife and children were placed in the lifeboat and the husband stood back with the other men. Other ethnicities are also represented in the lifeboats, if you'd like to take the time to go through the lists, either here or in a number of books.

Some authors have even gone as far as to credit Titanic's sinking for the beginning of the end of the class system, because people of all classes died together and were widowed together. A famous political drawing appeared in papers to poignantly illustrate that very fact.

Kyrila
 

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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Kyrila,
I have a book with a list of all the passengers in the lifeboats in it. It is the "Titanic Wall Chart". I never looked at it much.

I have another question that is a little of topic.

I was wondering what the relationship between first and second class was. I heard of 1st class people in the 2nd class smoking room and vice versa. Did 1st class look down on 2nd class or treat them like they were a little below high society. Just curious.
 

Bob Godfrey

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2nd Class passengers on the aft end of the boat deck could get their own back by looking down on 1st Class passengers on the A deck promenade below! But seriously, they had no contact. The 1st and 2nd Class areas of the ship were quite separate. 2nd Class passengers were allowed to tour the 1st Class public areas before the ship set sail, but after that they had to keep to their own designated spaces. White Star's clear ruling was that "First Class passengers are not allowed to enter second or third class compartments, nor vice versa."
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Matt Simons

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Bob,
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think I read in, I think it was, "Titanic, An Illustrated history" that there was a 2nd class passenger in the first class smoking room on the night of the collision (April 14), or maybe I read that in "A Night To Remember" Well, no matter what book I read that in, is that correct.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Matt, I am referring to the restrictions that applied during normal operation of the ship. If you mean during the sinking, then of course those restrictions ceased to apply and 2nd (and 3rd) Class passengers had access to areas normally reserved for 1st Class.
 

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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No, I mean right before the iceberg hit the ship. When people were relaxing and playing cards in the open public rooms at that time. Around maybe 10:30 PM or sometime near there.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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In a big ship it is not unknown for some passengers and indeed crew members to 'try it on' by transgressing designated class boundaries.

It would be up to such as an astute public room steward or patrolling catering officer to flush them out. The longer the passage the more familiar the faces. The short transatlantic passage would tend to favour the 'chancers'.

Crew members would be 'logged' in accordance with the Articles of Agreement, passengers 'advised as to their future conduct'.

Noel
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Matt, I'd need more details or a page number reference before I could comment on the particular account you have read. But I'm wondering if you might have seen a reference to Lawrence Beesley's movements immediately after the collision, when few people were aware of any serious problem and the Smoking Rooms were still operating as normal. Beesley (a 2nd Class passenger) described how he went up the 2nd Class stairway to the boat deck and then down to the Smoking Room on the next deck below (or words to that effect). Now, some writers have interpreted that as meaning he found his way into the 1st Class smoking Room on A deck. But in fact the 2nd Class stairwell passed right through A deck as if it wasn't there, so for Beesley the next accessible deck on the way down would have been B deck, where he entered the 2nd Class Smoking Room. The people he spoke to there can be identified as 2nd Class passengers like himself.
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Dec 6, 2000
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Hello Matt,

The wording on page 82 of "Titanic, An Illustrated History" is misleading. After he boarded Nourney had upgraded to 1st Class.
In most updated Passenger Lists [as with the one on this web-site] Nourney is correctly listed as a 1st Class passenger.