Duties of Crew

Jul 5, 2000
Hello. Does anyone know some information about the duties of individual crew members?

What were the duties of:
(from Victualling Crew)
Bath stewards
Gym stewards
Telephone Stewards
Boots Stewards
Pantrymen Stewards
Plates Stewards

(from a la Carte Restaurant)
Each cook
assistant cooks
plate men
ice men
wine boys
coffee men
bar men
page boy
kitchen porter

If anyone has any information about these positions or any others I didn't mention, I'd love to hear it. Thank you.


Alan Rivers

I was curious as to what a glory hole steward's duties are as well. Thanks so much.

Chris Dohany

Dec 12, 1999
I'll take a stab at it...

Bath stewards - They kept watch on the public bathrooms.
Gym steward - He watched over the gymnasium
Pursers - They were in charge of the victual department, and also charged with keeping passengers' valuables safe.
Telephone Steward - He was the switchboard operator.
Bellboys - They ran errands.
Boots Stewards - They shined shoes/boots.
Pantrymen Stewards - They kept the food stores.
Plates Stewards - Sorta like buss boys. Washed plates as well.
Glory Hole Stewards - Stewards to the crew.

(from a la Carte Restaurant)
Controller - Never could find this out.
Each cooks - They had their designated items to cook, which is indicated in their titles, I.E., Larder cook, Vegetable cook, Pastry chef.
Assistant cooks - more of a title issue, they cooked, just the same as the rest, but were probably paid less.
Plate men - Same as plate stewards. Washed plates.
ice men - Made ice?
Wine butler - Served and kept stock on wine
coffee man - Served coffee
bar man - Was a bartender and kept stock of the spirits.
Page boy - Ran errands
kitchen porter - cleaned up after the cooks.

I M McVey

Aug 3, 2000
Dear Alan,

A Glory Hole Steward's job was to look after the living areas of his fellow Stewards. The traditional name for the shared cabins (some approach dormitories) of the Stewards is 'Glory Hole'. In passenger ships, there are members of the Stewards Department who are told off to care for passengers specifically, or passenger areas of the ship -- but there are also members of that Department who work to look after and maintain crew spaces, such as dining rooms, lavatories (heads), bathing areas, and passageways, as well as living quarters. I started in passenger ships, and we had our own galley and dining rooms, and stewards who cared for and attended same.

I don't, however know the origin of the term 'Glory Hole', nor how it came to be applied to Stewards' quarters. Would be interesting to know where that got started...

Kind regards, Ilya M.

Alan Rivers


Thanks for your quick response. I wonder if the name for such a job title has changed on the cruise ships of today.

Alan Rivers

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
According to my dictionary a glory hole started as a box or cupboard containing all kinds of odds and ends, tossed in at random. I fancy the stewards applied it in a spirit of self-mockery.
Jul 5, 2000
Thank you all, especially Chris Dohany, for your quick and detailed responses. If you have any more comments, please share.

Best Regards,
Jun 16, 2006
What were the duties of the printer steward mr Mishellamy and assistant printer steward mr Corben? Can't seem to find anything with substance about their work.

Appreciate any hints.

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
One of the first jobs would be the printing of passenger lists for distribution to 1st Class cabins. During the voyage they would be kept busy with items like menus, flyers and of course the onboard newspaper. In slack times it's likely that they printed things like tickets for onboard services like the Turkish bath, along with invoice and receipt forms for a variety of extra payments and refunds.
Nov 11, 2007
What was the job description of a glory hole steward? I have tried to find out the answer to this question online but no luck.

[Moderator's note: This message, originally a separate thread in a different topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread addressing the same subject. MAB]

Reece Davies

Apr 12, 2014
Job descriptions for Titanic


Just looking at the Titanic Crew list and found a few jobs which I don't know what would they would have done in their job. The jobs were: Plate Steward
Pantry Steward
Pantryman Steward
Printer Steward
Stenographer (Why would a stenographer be on Titanic?)

Also, I looked at the Lusitania Crew list and wondered if a Night watchman is the same as a lookout. Hope someone could reply and would be extremely grateful
Kind regards,

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
Plate steward - cleaned and polished the silver plate items used in the dining rooms.
Pantry man/pantry steward (same thing) - maintained stock levels of foodstuffs, drinks etc in the pantries.
Printer steward - set up type and operated a small press for printing items like menus and passenger lists.
Stenographer - typist, probably with shorthand skills. Available as a service (not free) for passengers.

The night watchmen patrolled designated areas at night - just as they would if working in something like a department store or factory ashore.

Jim Currie

Apr 16, 2008
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
To add a bit.

The Purser's Department had little or nothing to do with the Catering Department. They were, if you like, the office team or hotel management team. They were responsible for the day to day liason with the passengers. They also kept records, looked after valuables etc. A Purser was recognised by the white stripe alongside the cuff or epaulette braid on his uniform. The rank of Chief Steward equalled that of Chief Purser.
The catering Staff was headed by the Chief Steward. Some vessels as a number of Assistant Chief Stewards and Second Stewards.

Plates were stowed in special racks. The Scullions would washed and died them and other stewards would re-stow them in these special racks ready for re-use.

All these big ships had what was called a 'Silver Service' in the dining rooms and restaurants. This work requires special skills. Only the best dining room stewards were involved. All table cutlery, condiment containers, sauce boats etc were silver-plated.. EPNS.. this required to be cleaned and polished continuously during the voyage.

The name 'Glory Hole' was borrowed from the land where, as Dave says, it was a deep cupboard into which items of all kinds ( but usually old cloths, blankets and soft furnishings) were chucked untidily without any specific order. It was in common use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Scotland it was usually the 'Lobby Press'.

Jim C.
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