Crew schedule Crew quarters and Captain's quarters

  • Thread starter Jonathan Payette
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Jonathan Payette

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Hello,

I wonder if anybody knows what the daily schedule was like for an Officer and a normal sailor on board the Titanic. Where did they spent their spare time, what did they eat, etc. Is there any pictures of the crew rooms available on the internet (like the engineers smoke room for example, the officers mess room, etc.)

I would also like to know what did the Captain's quarters looked like. Those on the Normandie where grandiose suites who could do as well for First Class passengers. How did those quarters consisted on the Titanic (or Olympic) ? I know Captain Smith had his own valet.


Thanks,
Jonathan
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Jonathan, much of what you are after is on my site at http://users.senet.com.au/~gittins/terminology.html

I know of no photos of the crew's quarters on the internet or anywhere else. We know that the crew had bunks rather than the hammocks that were still used in the navy. Think something pretty basic. Violet Jessop mentions having personal lockers and room for a few photos or trinkets. She thought that was great, because previously she had shared lockers with smokers. Captain Smith had three rooms and one would have had enough space to entertain the occasional special visitor. This was not encouraged, so he mostly saw people socially in the dining room or perhaps the restaurant.

The crew's food was prescribed by the Board of Trade and was typical English working-class fare. There was meat, fish and potatos and on Titanic they could have frozen vegetables. The rules provided for a lot of food substitutions if they could be found, so the old salt meat and hard tack, which were still about on sailing ships, were history as far as they were concerned.

The crew was not supposed to drink alcohol, but according to Jessop many of the victualling crew found ways to get booze.
 
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Patricia Bowman Rogers Winship

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Jonathan, take a look at this one.

http://www.greatships.net/album/albumdetails.html

The ninth image was taken in the Officers' Mess of the Oceanic. The Titanic's would probably not have looked too much different, except that there were probably fewer pictures on the walls. The Bell Album, when it is published, contains at least one picture of Officer Bell's cabin, although I cannot remember which ship it was on.

C.H. Lightoller provides some tantalizing glimpses of what the officers did during their off-duty time on shipboard. He said, for starters, that there was a good deal of practical joking-- especially when he was around. However, he goes on to say that they would always grab an afternoon nap in order to remain alert on their night watches "when there's NO fooling."

Pat W
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Jonathan said: I know Captain Smith had his own valet.

To this day on most passenger ships the Captain has his own steward who is responsible for anything and everything the Captain needs. This person is sort of a secratary as well. While the cruise director organizes ALL passenger related activities the steward ensures the Captain is up for certain watches when entering risky areas, is responsible for finding the Captain if he is out and about when the bridge needs him.

The steward also makes sure the Captains cabins are clean and that he has all the necessary uniforms clean and ready to go.

I am not sure if this was standard practice on all companies of the time or if Captain Smith's steward was paid by Smith and not WSL. But today is today and yesterday is yesterday.
 
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Patricia Bowman Rogers Winship

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Thinking more on Jonathan's question

I seem to recall that the Officers' Mess got its food from the First Class galley; however I cannot recall where this tidbit of information came from. Lightoller said something to the effect of there being "a pretty long menu" being available to him and his colleagues. This, of course, included the flying roast beef that was served to, although NOT ordered by Second Officer Barber of the Majestic

There were some hobbyists among the officers. Pitman and Moody collected stamps. Lightoller picked a mean banjo. Photography was popular-- Blair, Moody, and possibly Lowe had cameras and used them. Letter writing to friends and family was always a way to pass the time.

As a "BTW", I should mention that the photo from the Bell album was taken when the ship was in port-- hence the beer bottles on the table. Liquor was strictly forbidden to the officers when the ship was under way-- and I think that rule was taken seriously on the WSL-- despite the activities of the victualling crew.

Pat W
 
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Renae Barrett Salisbury

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Where would the teenaged crew members been quartered? The bellboys, lift stewards, pageboys, etc.
 

Bob Godfrey

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As part of the victualling crew, they were quartered on the port side of E deck off 'Scotland Road'. Their dormitory cabin was the one marked on plans as 'miscellaneous stewards' (opposite the stairway to the 3rd Class dining room). Older hands in the same cabin included the gymnasium instructor and the 1st Class bathroom stewards and pantrymen.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Just a question- Would their cabins look something like the third class passengers? Are there any surviving pictures of these quarters?

Thanks!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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The only photo I'm aware of that exists of the officers quarters are those taken of what's left of Captain Smith's stateroom by an ROV that explored the wreck. I'm not aware of any pre-sinking that exist. This doesn't neccesserily man that they don't, but if any are extant, they're probably in private collections.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Jeremy, some of the crew had sufficient status to merit the greater privacy of individual or small shared cabins which probably did look much like the 3rd Class accommodation. The 1st Class Chef, for instance, had his own cabin, while his assistant shared with the Chief Baker.

Most of the crew, however, slept in the much larger rooms which are labelled on plans as '40 saloon waiters', '53 firemen' etc. These large open spaces would have been very spartan, containing only rows of 2-tiered galvanised iron bunks with 'spring and chain' mattresses, along with individual lockers for storing kit. Communal washrooms and toilets were provided nearby.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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That means it would look something like the large dormitories I had stayed in camp.....

Thanks Bob!
 
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Renae Barrett Salisbury

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Thanks one and all for this information. It has been most helpful. Your knowledge about this subject continues to impress and amaze me.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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They had their own assigned cabins, Brigitte, aft of the Bridge area. Chief, First, Second, Third, Fifth and Sixth on the port side, Captain and Fourth on the starboard.

Moody memorably described his as a 'rotten little room' (it had taken some time to finish having it fitted out). He was, however, pleased not to be sharing it, and that he had a 'proper' window.
 

Dave Gittins

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The sizes of the officers' cabins were carefully matched to their status. Hence Sixth Officer Moody got the smallest cabin. It was a bit smaller than Captain Smith's bathroom!
 
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Inger said in regard to Moody's cabin "(it had taken some time to finish having it fitted out)."

What did the 'fitting out' involve? Installing the standard items : bed, chest of drawers (or whatever Mr. Moody had to store his clothes and toiletries)? Or did Moody fit out the room with his own personal furniture?
 

Dave Gittins

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Plans show a bed, a small settee, a small wardrobe and what appears to be a dressing table.

White Star could be pretty mean, but officers were not expected to find their own furniture. At least he was handy to the officers' toilet!
 

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