Construction Not Completed

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Ray Burhop

My Grandfather, Arthur Cunningham, was a cabinet maker and worked on the Titanic at Belfast. Work was not completed at time of qualification trial and intitial sailing to Southhampton. He and other workers remained on board to finish work. At Southampton work was still not complete and he and others were asked to stay on board on first trip to New York to finish work. Arthur Cunningham did not take up on the offer as he did not want to leave his family back in Belfast. He either got off at Southampton or Queenstown. Does anyone know of the work still not completed, how many workers stayed on board to complete work on the first voyage?
Dec 7, 2000

I'm not aware of any workers who remained on board to continue outfitting/construction while Titanic was on her voyage. However the subject of her not being completed has been discussed on this board before. Overall the things not complete would just be minute details and miscellaneous furniture, nothing major though.

Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
The only Harland & Wolff workers who remained aboard were the ten people who made up the Gaurantee Group. You can click on This Hotlink to find out a little more about them.

I don't know of any documentation still extant which records any work or fitting out that wasn't completed, although it's been suggested that the clock on the Grand Staircase was not installed when the ship sailed. There were also some problems noted during the voyage such as heaters not working. This and any number of other little "bugs" is not all that unusual with a new ship, and that's why the Gaurantee Group was aboard. Their job was to identify such bugs and either fix them or arrange for them to made right.

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
There's some evidence of incomplete work. Imanita Shelley complained that the heating system didn't work properly and noticed fittings lying about in crates in the ladies' toilets. Photographs taken of Olympic and Titanic show that handrails were not fully installed in the side of the gymnasium.

Workers were taken off Titanic after sailing, by the tug Vulcan, so there seems to have been a rush to finish her that evidently didn't quite succeed.

It's not entirely impossible that a worker could have gone on to Queenstown. There is no totally authoritative passenger list for that section. It apparently was considered a voyage between British ports and required less documentation. The same goes for the Belfast-Southampton leg. That's why Francis Browne is unlisted among those who joined at Southampton. I've recently noticed that at least one compass adjuster was on board for that passage.

At the same time, I'd caution against accepting family stories too readily. Half the world seems to have had a relative on Titanic.

Nigel Bryant

Jan 14, 2001
Wellington, New Zealand
In some staterooms in first-class, the carpets hadn't been trimmed probably along the sides of the walls. An example onboard Titanic is B-57, seen in the book Titanic and Her Sisters. From the book Titanic Voices, a second- class passenger remarked that her cabin looked “unfinished” and immediately asked for another stateroom. As mentioned before these were mainly small things, like the information cards missing on stateroom walls, and the absence of serving trays in second-class that were meant to be provided.



Jake Angus

Sort of along these lines, what is a hot duck press, or the hot press that wasn't working in the FC restaurant (?).

Erik Wood

Aug 24, 2000
This has actually been a source of debate amoung the technical circle for quite some time. What I find the most interesting about this possibility is that if Titanic was "rushed" then what else in relation to the vessel was rushed??

Having a new ship sail not fully completed is common place today. In fact the QE2 and Cunard got busted in the early 1980's for leaving a refit period a tad to early and having yard birds try to complete the work enroute to New York.

In the shipping world schedule is king.
Feb 17, 2005
I heard of several things from crates lying around to just a hole with wires sticking out where a light should have been.

Brian R Peterson

Hi Michael,

While the Titanic did leave for her voyage a tad rushed, almost all of the interiors that passengers would have had access to were completed, crew areas however are another matter, and perhaps those were left in the rough.

As far as passenger observations, all I have come across is a note about crates of glassware and other items being spotted in bathrooms.

Best Regards,

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