Daily schedules for crew and servants


I am hoping that someone on the site may be able to help as there is so much fantastic information (and so many knowledgeable people) here!

I am trying to find out about the daily working routine/daily timetable of the crew and the servants onboard. I am interested in the details of daily routine and the specific duties undertaken by the ordinary seamen, the stokers, the stewards/stewardesses and the passengers' servants. I've read some of the classic books and gleaned some useful information, but could anyone point me towards books or websites that deal with this specific area in depth? I've looked at some of the relevant threads on this topic but am still keen to find more info!

I was also wondering about the the stories of women passengers rushing to the bursar's office to recover their jewelry. Does anyone know if it would have been the same bursar's office for both first and second class? Did anyone manage to get their jewels out, and how long did the women keep attempting before they abandoned the effort? I'd love to know if there are any survivors' accounts of this...

Any suggestions or information on these areas would be gratefully received!

Katie
 
The 2nd Purser did indeed preside over the 'Assistant Purser's Office' with counter service in 2nd Class on E deck, and took meals with the passengers in the 2nd Class dining room.

Katie, there were a great many differing areas of employment for crew on a large liner, especially in the victualing department (ie the hotel staff). An account of the duties and daily routines of all of them would take a sizeable book rather than a few postings. I might write it one day, but don't hold your breath! If you don't have a copy already, seek out Titanic Survivor by Violet Jessop. She wouldn't have approved of the misleading title for her memoirs of a working life at sea, and a source for everything you might want to know about the work of stewards and stewardesses.
 
Thank you both for your replies.

Interesting to hear that there was a 2nd Pursar in second class... Do you know if there are any eyewitness accounts of women attempting to recover their jewels and whether the pursers stayed at their offices to do this?


Thanks for the Violet Jessop suggestion - I am actually in the middle of reading her account as I write! Any other recommendations of books/accounts detailing the working lives of those onboard would be greatly appreciated - I am aware that there were a huge range of duties and would like to learn as much about the various daily routines as possible!

One thing I haven't yet gleaned from Violet Jessop is whether the stewardesses ever performed ladies' maid duties for second class women passengers who were traveling without servants. I am assuming the women in second class would still have needed assistance with dressing and wonder if this would have been added to the extensive list of duties performed by stewardesses.....?
 
The pursers were the senior officers of the victualing department and an important link in the chain of command between the Bridge and the senior stewards, so I doubt they would have given any priority to opening up and manning their enquiry windows during the emergency. We do have eye witness accounts of the pursers and their clerks loading the contents of the safes into bags, and later possibly helping to load the boats (but not with the goodies from the safes). Unless there is good evidence to support the movie screenwriters, I suspect the scenes of passengers clamouring for their valuables are pure invention.

The bedroom stewards and stewardesses would generally assist the passengers in their section in any way required (within reason). They were always happy to offer special treatment where required (like delivering meals to the cabins) as they could then expect a larger tip at the end of the voyage. Many of the passengers in 2nd Class would have employed a housemaid or general domestic at home, but few would have had incomes high enough to support personal servants like a lady's maid or valet, so I imagine there wasn't much demand for help with dressing.
 
That is a little complicated as the two watches (Starboard and Port) changed daily having.

On even days the starboard watch (Olliver and Hichens) would work the following hours (Olliver would be at the first 2 hours at the wheel and then Hichens, Rowe would be at the docking bridge)
12 - 4 a.m. 8 - 12 a.m. 4 - 6 p.m. 8 - 12 p.m.
The port watch (Perkis & Wynn) with Bright at the docking bridge
4 - 8 a.m. 12 - 4 p.m. & 6 - 8 p.m.

On uneven days the hours were the other way round (starboard watch had the hours the port watch had on even days).
 
Titanic Testing Compasses..jpg
Titanic doing S manvourve April 11th 1912.jpg
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Scanning through the Inquiry. Not sure about Thursday but Hichens mentioned his watch on Sunday morning:


Q - When did you take the temperature of the water and air? When had you done so before that time?
A - The last watch on deck, when it was not my wheel. If I had the station on the bridge.
Q - When was it? What time was it?
A - In the morning; the same watch in the morning; the 8 to 10 watch, Sunday morning.


.
 
There were some notes I read somewhere that Titanic was making some of those turns between Cherbourg and Queenstown, checking steering and compass or something.

Also a very short scene in "A Night To Remember" at 55:00 showing a rush on the Purser's Office by ladies wanting to get their jewels.
 
Last edited:
One thing I know is that when Hichens was questioned if she was a "good steering ship" he said "fairly well". I have always wondered if he was at the wheel during these turns.
 
Top