Did Captain Smith order 3rd class gates to be locked

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Alyson Jones

Guest
I saw an documentry,and what came up,the 3rd class gates that apperatly was locked to keep the 3rd class passenager's of the boat deck.
What shock me that they stated that captain Smith orderd the gates to be locked.I myself did not believe he the captain did so.

What are you're thoughts on this or better yet does any one know if thats true or not.

Cheers
PS- sorry for bad spelling
 
Dec 2, 2000
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This whole locked gates thing is one of the most enduring myths surrounding the Titanic and the problem here is that not only is there little real evidence that any gates were locked, there's really little evidence that any gates were even there below decks to be locked.

If you have Powerpoint, go to http://home.comcast.net/~bwormst7/Symposium/gates.html scroll to the bottom and click on "Cathy's Powerpoint presentation" Cathy Akers-Jordan did a wonderful job of dealing with this.

It's worth noting that the only locked gates even mentioned in sworn testimony are the waist high gates at the top of the stairs leading from the well deck to the B-Deck area on the outside of the ship. These gates were easily circumvented by either climbing or jumping over them.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Hi Mark,I was not talking about the b gate on the front of deck of the bridge.I was talking about the gates right in the heart of the Titanic.
The Subs were inside the Titanic in the poop third class area.It appears the gates were closed and they were roof high,thats the gates i was talking about.
Have any one else seen this documentry before.
Mark, What do you think of this?
Cheers!
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Hi Alyson.

I think I knew which pictures you mean. But actually the gates shown there were filmed in the bow separating the cargo spaces from the passenger space. I think there was also a gate separating the mail room and the baggage room, but not sure. I knew the same pictures were shown in another documentary stating that they were closed to hold the 3rd class passengers down. But that is not true. That were the gates to the cargo holds!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I was talking about the gates right in the heart of the Titanic.<<

So was I. Specifically, I was addressing the lack of them in the passenger areas.

>>The Subs were inside the Titanic in the poop third class area.It appears the gates were closed and they were roof high,thats the gates i was talking about.<<

I think you'll find that if you reference the wreck itself as a whole, you'll find that the bars in question were surrounding the hatch leading down into the cargo holds. They were there for safety, not confinement.

As to any gates in the Post Office, this area was flooded and abandoned fairly early on. There are only two locations in the NARA plans showing the location of gates. One was in the forward 3rd Class accomadation which was also flooded out fairly early on. The other was in a crew area around the vegetable prep area, and was irrelevant to the passenger areas.

A third bostwick gate was closed across the shell doors leading outside the ship in the 1st class area. There really wasn't any reason to have gates in the 3rd class areas and they really didn't have any trouble getting out. All they had to do was go up using any handy stairwell.
 
A

Alyson Jones

Guest
Hi Iannis, yes thats the one i'm talking about.
The documentry and historians stated that the gates lead towards the 3rd class cabins.
You could be right it in being not true,not one third class sirvour has mention the gates being closed and locked.
The documentry never stated or mention about the gate belonging to cargo area.
The Gates were kind of small,like a normal door ways.
Is that the Gates you were talking about?
I never seen a cargo hold gate before,but would the cargo gate be much bigger?I'm not sure.

Cheers
 
Dec 2, 2000
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The "gates" surrounding the cargo hatches look like some fairly large bars. As I indicated, the whole locked gates thing is one of the most enduring myths surrounding the Titanic, and one of the hardest to kill even though there's little in the way of any real physical evidence to support it.

A lot of so-called documentaries don't help matters either since they tend to showcase the sensational rather then the real.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Hi micheal.In 1912 there was a big difference in class.
If there were gates in 3rd class,wern't they put there to keep the 3rd class passengers from entering the life boats before the higher classes 1st and 2nd there fore they had locks?
The gates that i saw, they were resembles the ones in the Titanic movie they were thin not large bars.
Micheal, if were there bars gates at the enterance of the 3rd class cabins?If they were,what were they for the gates?
Warm regrads
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Hi Michael and Alyson.

The "gates" I was speaking about were filmed by RMS Titanic Inc., I think in 1993. You can see the pictures on the DVD "Deep Inside the Titanic" by Discovery Channel. There they show 2 types of gates. The large bars at the cargo spaces and they also show a gate of the other type (like in the movies). They said that this gate separates the baggage room and the mail room.
So these gates have nothing to do with holding back the 3rd class passenger.
These gates I mentioned were shown in another documentary, don't know how it is called but I think it was narrated by Bernhard Hill, who play Captain Smith in the 1997 movie. They show there the gates in the wreck as a proof that the passengers were locked down. But as I said that is not true.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Even if the gates which separated the third class passengers from their fellow-passengers were locked (which is extremely doubtful), there would have been fire axes in the immediate vicinity "for use in case of emergency" - that is to say, to break down the gates in case of fire or other disaster.

As a matter of interest, when I travelled from Larne to Stranraer on the MV Antrim Princess I noticed that the gates leading to the boat deck were in fact locked. However, they could easily have been circumvented, and similar circumstances would have prevailed on a ship such as RMS Titanic.
 
May 27, 2007
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quote:

There they show 2 types of gates. The large bars at the cargo spaces and they also show a gate of the other type (like in the movies). They said that this gate separates the baggage room and the mail room.
So these gates have nothing to do with holding back the 3rd class passenger.
Hello Ioannis,

I saw gates like that on Deep Inside Titanic. I'd hope the passengers could get through the gates if they had too.​
 
A

Alyson Jones

Guest
I knew that there were gates at the enterance of each third class gang way,i wanted to know if they were locked,thanks for shedding some light on this topic.
I do feel sorry for Smith, one documentry stated that the Captains orders the gates were locked.I always found that hard to believe when smith was a kind gentle person!
 
May 27, 2007
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Howdy Alyson

Why would Smith order the Third Class gates locked though? I could see him wanting to delay the men below if he thought about Steerage\Third Class at all that night so there wasn't a big crowd up on deck. But I couldn't see him ordering the gates locked. Like you Alyson, I don't see him as a cold man. Silly documentary!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Why would Smith order the Third Class gates locked though?<<

I don't think he would have. Not that he might or might not have wanted to, but he had more important matters to deal with that would require his attention. The details of which passengers were mustered as well as how it was handled was a matter he would have delegated to the junior officers.

>>They show there the gates in the wreck as a proof that the passengers were locked down. But as I said that is not true.<<

Not to worry, I got it!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>If there were gates in 3rd class<<

And on a seperate note, the key word here is "IF" The problem being that there is little real evidence that any of these gates existed and none other then the ones I mentioned along with the bars Ioannis brought up have actually been observed.

>>The gates that i saw, they were resembles the ones in the Titanic movie they were thin not large bars.<<

Those would be the Bostwick scissors gates and the only set actually observed and even recorded was the set barring the doors in the hull in the 1st class accomadation. Normally, these doors would have been opened to permit boarding or disembarkation. There would be no reason to have them open otherwise, unless you wanted to try and board a boat from there.

As to gates on the cabins, there were none and no reason for them. These were accomadations, not jail cells, and the occupants were free to come and go as they pleased.
 
May 27, 2007
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That's what I thought. Don't even think steerage entered Captain Smith's head or if it did it was only for a moment worrying about the decks getting crowded or how he was going to move all there passengers up to the boat deck. He was a busy fella.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Don't even think steerage entered Captain Smith's head <<

I think the sticking point is that 3rd class didn't enter into anybody's head. As Lightoller said, they were forgotten about. At best, the hotel staff would have been told to "See to it." and thereafter, it was on to other things. It wasn't as if any of the officers were in a position to do much about it. They were needed to superintend the loading and despatch of the boats.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Hi Guys, Didn't Captain Smith once visited the 3rd class area during the voyage. If so he would of been thinking of the 3rd class passenagers.
Have you guys here that story before?
George, yes i agree with you about captain Smith not being a cold man and i think historians have to go back to school and do more research.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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Smith would certainly visited third class territory daily, as part of his routine inspection of the ship. How deeply he looked might be another thing. The same goes for his senior officers, who did the rounds of the ship at the end of their watches.