Could you visit the bridge as a passenger


Hitch

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I've got a question: Could you visit the bridge, if you where a (first class) passenger?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Generally, no. Something may have been possible by very special arrangement, but that's about it. I seem to recall that the Captain of the Olympic got into some hot water for allowing the Prince of Wales (The future Edward the VIII) onto the bridge, and he was royalty! Good bridge dicipline and proper observance of protocols was something White Star took very seriously. When underway, the bridge of a White Star ship, so I understand, has been described as the closest thing to a morgue.
 

Hitch

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But in James Cameron's Titanic, Ruth and Molly (and I also think Rose, don't really know) are in one scene on the bridge talking to the captain.
 

Inger Sheil

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That's more a dramatic device than a particularly likely event, Carl. A visit to the Bridge is included in many Titanic books and film representations. Catherine Zeta-Jones even gets her hands on the wheel in the miniseries.

There are, however, some interesting photos in Harold Lowe's collection from the 20s that suggest a slightly different atmosphere prevailing on WSL ships.
 

Pat Winship

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Another hint that it was sometimes not so morgue-like:

"No passengers were allowed on the boat deck, so all these episodes were kept a jealous secret. No doubt we were looked upon as models of rectitude and correct behaviour–or at least what they could see of us above the dodger. On the bridge, with rare exceptions, no doubt we were..."

Lightoller Titanic and Other Ships

(The episode referred to is Lights' sliding across the bridge of the Oceanic and running into Captain Cameron)

Pat W.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>But in James Cameron's Titanic, Ruth and Molly (and I also think Rose, don't really know) are in one scene on the bridge talking to the captain.<<

Well, it's not as if this would be the first time a movie didn't let reality get in the way of a good story. While there certainly were some winked at exceptions, (And some that were just plain hidden) it just wasn't the sort of thing that was *generally* allowed.
 

Pat Winship

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Agreed, Mike. Lightoller goes on to say that there was absolutely no fooling around on the bridge in the night hours.

Pat W
 

Jeremy Lee

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What would be the consequences then, if someone forced his way to the bridge, like Cal in the movie?

"Sir, you can't go through" LOL!
 

Dave Gittins

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He'd have been removed so fast his head would spin. All the officers were old sailing ship men and they were handy with their fists. When they were finished with him, he'd be dealt with by the Master-at-Arms, if necessary, at gunpoint.
 
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>>Lightoller goes on to say that there was absolutely no fooling around on the bridge in the night hours.<<

And for good reason. The last thing the watch team would ever need would be to have inquisitive amatures poking around and constantly underfoot on any ship.

>>All the officers were old sailing ship men and they were handy with their fists.<<

Including the genial looking Captain Smith. One didn't come up in the sort of environment they did by being any sort of a pushover. They wouldn't have survived their first week out, much less a career at sea. I have no doubt that even the least of them would be more then capable of turning an unruly intruder inside out! Go up against the lot of them in a knock down drag out and all the Master-at-Arms would need would be a sponge to clean up the mess.
 

Inger Sheil

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He'd have been removed so fast his head would spin. All the officers were old sailing ship men and they were handy with their fists. When they were finished with him, he'd be dealt with by the Master-at-Arms, if necessary, at gunpoint.
A good point. The sheer physical toughness of these men is sometimes overlooked, but even the youngest of them knew what it was to deal with either an unruly crew or a rough sailor town (or both). James Moody, for example, wrote of the need for apprentices to band together to protect themselves against a bully mate. One unruly crew ocassioned the observation that there was a fair old chance that they officers would be murdered in the bunks - it was necessary to have police aboard in port. Very typical was the incident when a steward polished off a lot of grog and 'then went forward and wanted to fight all hands, because he felt so cheerful.'
 
Jan 28, 2003
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From a glossary of sailing terms, shedding an interesting light on Lightoller's choice of name for the yacht he had in retirement:

"Sundowner A slang name for a bullying officer on a ship. The origin of the name comes from those captains who would only give shore leave to their crews up to the time of sunset."
 

Dave Gittins

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Monica, that's highly unlikely. Lightoller would have learned the name from his Australian wife.

In Oz, a sundowner was an wandering "worker". These chaps used to turn up at a station at around sundown. They'd exercise an old bush tradition to get a meal and a place to sleep. In the morning, they'd ask for work if they were broke. More likely, they'd shoot through at dawn and make for the next free feed. The expression has become associated with freedom and independence and yachts are often called Sundowner.
 
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Yes, I did wonder. Not because I knew of the Oz interpretation...but because of the great Brit colonial interpretation .... the first chota peg (drink) after a day's work. On reflection, I think he would have known all three interpretations, though, so he may have just thought it was the ONLY name for his boat!
 
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Monica Hall??? Who's that then??? (Don't worry, Monica, Paul Rogers explained about the typo when we were at BTS this year. I thought it was quite funny).

Although, I have sort of got used to Ahll now....has a certain 'thing' to it....
 
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Thanks, Tracy. To think you'd seen through the Scandanavian smokescreen all this time .... and the rotten typing!
 
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Rather strict considering that the president's daughter was allowed to SAIL the United States for a few minutes on its maiden voyage.
 
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Albert and Vera Dick became good friends with Thomas Andrews (they were dining companions) and apparently the shipbuilder led them throughout the whole ship, including the lower classes. I have no doubt he showed them the bridge as well. Might be mistaken, though.
 

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