Empty Cabins and Missing Passengers


Dec 4, 2000
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There is some value to placing individual passengers in their proper cabins. However, I have been troubled with the other side of the question...where were the empty cabins which should have held Titanic's roughly 1,000 missing passengers? The ship could have carried that many more passengers. Considering there was a coal strike and other liners were forced to tie up for the duration, Titanic should have been filled to overflowing. Fortunately, it was not.

But, why not? In fact, was Titanic a completed ship, or were there cabins which could not be occupied because they were unfinished? The answers to these questions may not have bearing on the larger issues, but it is curious that so many people escaped death by not being able to sail aboard Titanic.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hey David,

That is a really interesting question... observation. I think it was the Barbara Stanwyck "Titanic" version that shows us an image of a "sold-out" Titanic. And yet there was a higher capacity. Interesting, was it because it was the week after Easter and most had traveled to their destinations and would travel the following weekend to get back? Or did the coal strike place people in the position of being unable to travel due to some economic reasons?

(BTW, only 2 copies left, but I got mine!)
happy.gif

Maureen.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Didn;t mean to address a "Hollywood movie" in light of your technical question as a link or anything like that. I just had always thought of the Titanic as being full, that is the way it was presented in that movie, and it was not until I arrived here that I learned otherwise.

I was merely offering other reasons why there may have been so many vacancies. But your reasoning sounds quite posssible. I too would be interested in others comments on this.
Maureen.
 
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Nathan Heddle

Guest
Maureen,

You are very right, it is a very interesting and puzzling question. It could also beg the response, that if not all the cabins were finised and Titanic not fully ready, should she have sailed.

Obviousally there is a difference between structural unsoundness (I think I just made up a word) and cabins not fitted out properly, but if she wasn't finished should she have been sailing?

nathan
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Dear Nathan,
Hmmmm, what you propose is interesting. Wonder what others think as well. I never thought about the rooms being unfinished.

Maureen.
 
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Daniel Rosenshine

Guest
Hi,

I doubt many rooms were unfinished, however they were still laying carpets, fastening furniture and fixtures in Southampton as well as equipping cabins with new furniture. Some cabins were even freshly painted. I don't think they could afford a non-finished ship as it would have been checked and disallowed to sail if it was not completely ready. All cabins were mostly finished it were only the fine details that had to be fine-tuned.

Olympic sailed the Wednesday before and although I had not seen a full passenger list for its April 3 crossing, but what I saw was even less booked than Titanic (but only very slightly). If anything Olympic was just as under filled as Titianic.

Fist class on Titanic had only 38% of its full capacity booked and only 60% of all cabins.

I think it comes down to people being skeptical of maiden voyages, family reasons and don't forget there were at least 50 cancellations. However that does not cover 1000 passengers. So I don't know what else could have been the problem.

It is interesting to note, that if not the coal strike, Titanic would have been even more under filled, as many were transferred from other ships to Titanic. Perhaps people preferred to travel on ships of other companies.

Daniel.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I think that both Danial and Mo raise some valid possibilities. The coal strike didn't help matters to be sure, but bear in mind also that travel is a seasonal thing. Always has been. Was springtime a popular time for vacations then? I'd bet not...though I could be wrong.

As to the ship being incomplete, I rather doubt that. The ship was in fitting out for a longer period in part because of the fact that she had to be pulled out of drydock so the Olympic could be repaired. A delay in major hull work would nesseccarily delay work on the interiors. (Though a diversion of shipfitters for priority work could.) They still managed to find time to add the so-called Ismay Screen on A Deck however. Somehow, I don't beleive work on the accomadations was effected. The people responsible for that were hardly needed to patch holes and swap propellers on the Olympic.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Michael!

Don't forget, though, that Mrs. Shelley said that some of the plumbing hardware had not yet been installed in the ladies' room near her cabin; a number of fixtures were present but were still packed in their crates. Also, there's the anecdotal account which claims that the ship's clock had not yet been mounted in the "Honor and Glory" frame but that a mirror had been hastily installed in its place. (I believe there are a few additional reports of unfinished work on the ship, too, but my memory fails me as to details.) :)

Neither of the above accounts is of any real importance re: the safety of the ship, but they do seem to demonstrate that things were pretty rushed during the final days in Southampton before the maiden voyage began.

All my best,

George
 
Dec 4, 2000
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The British Board of Trade would have approved Titanic to sail even if there were large numbers of unfinished cabins. The BOT was interested in those items that affected the safety or well-being of the passengers. Unfinished cabins would not have been considered as a "defect" unless passengers were housed in them under unsafe or unsanitary conditions.

This continues to be the case. Consider QE2's second "maiden voyage" after its most recent refit. Not much worked, including the sewage system.

--David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi George OM, good to hear from you again...and what you and David described sounds a lot like new ship blues to me. Been through it once when I was on the Commissioning crew for the USS Comstock. The bloody thing floated and the engines worked. Just about everything else looked for an excuse to break down.

Drains needed to be relocated, check valves needed to be installed in the wastewater pipes...it took us a year to correct all the shipyard's screwups. The radio room had stuff installed which was more out of date then what was installed in the Lockheed built ships seven years earlier. The dry cleaning machines in my laundry never did work, but they were installed despite being so obsolete that there was no spare parts support for either of them. I reccommended disposing of them and I didn't mourn when they were finally cut out.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Norman Olsen

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Apr 15, 2006
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You have also got to understand that this was the off season for North Atlantic travel. This is also a contributing factor. Norm
 
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Linda Nash

Guest
As to First Class not being filled, let's not forget that J. P. Morgan and Vanderbilt, cancelled, both owners, also Lord Pirrie cancelled and sent his newphew, Thomas Andrews in his place. Morgan claimed to have the flu, as did the others, he also removed art work (private collection) from the ship prior to saling, guess it had the flu too. All three knew about the coal bunker fire in boiler room #5. Hope this wasn't already disscussed, if so, sorry, I'm new.
Yours, ripley
 
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Graham Pickles

Guest
I've just been reading through the postings above and there is some valued points. Regarding empty cabins etc., when Brunel launched the SS.Great Britain it only sold 29 tickets, which was far lower than it could of held. The reason stated by the Bristol shipbuilding Co was that people would not travel as it was the first commercial ship to be built of steel. but I have also read a few accounts about parts of the Titanic which was not complete.

To the coal strike as well as probably stopping a lot of people traveling it helped the Titanic sail with more people than it would of done due to so many people been transferred.

By the way does anyone have a list of how many people where transferred to the Titanic.
 
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charmaine louise morris

Guest
i am looking for information on a passenger that did not board the titanic but did buy a ticket and boarded all her belongs were can i find information on her. her name was mrs thornhill
 
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Ray Burhop

Guest
Perhaps my grandfathers experience with the Titanic may shed some light on why some cabins were unoccupied on its first voyage. My Grandfather, Arthur Cunningham, was a cabinet maker and worked on the Titanic at Belfast. Work was not completed at time of qualification trial and intitial sailing to Southhampton. He and other workers remained on board to finish work. At Southampton work was still not complete and he and others were asked to stay on board on first trip to New York to finish work. Arthur Cunningham did not take up on the offer as he did not want to leave his family back in Belfast. He either got off at Southampton or Queenstown. As a cabinetmaker he would have been involved in finishing work on the ship. It appears the request for him to stay on board may explain why some rooms were not occuppied.
 
Jun 4, 2003
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Hi all! Has anyone else thought that the Titanic would travel with much fewer passengers had it not been for the coal strike and the transfer of many of them there from other liners? Any more info? Thanks!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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George, IMO, the Titanic would have probably traveled with more passengers were it not for the coal strike, if only because traffic would have been at normal seasonal levels rather then lows caused by shortage of anything that could get underway.

If the ships can't move, the tourists can't get "over there" and if they're not doing that, there won't be a lot of tourists to go home.
 
Dec 23, 2005
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Yes I think there was empty cabins but I am not sure

Kristjan Peterson

[Moderator's Note: This message and the one immediately above it have been moved from a new, separate thread to this pre-existing one. MAB]
 

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