First Class passenger servants

Gary.J Bell

May 30, 2004
Whilst reading through the passenger list, i was noting the number of personal servants who had either survived or died with their employers.
For example Ellen Bird (Personal maid to Mrs. Strauss) survived, yet John Farthing (Personal butler to Mr.Strauss) did not. Does anypne know if most of these servants chose to stay or were forced to. Like the staff of the Allisons?
Also, in the case of the Strauss servants, it seems they were lucky enough to have their own individual rooms on C deck.

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
Personal servants like maids, valets and nurses occupied 1st Class cabins generally located close to those of their employers so that they could continue to serve during the voyage. As you have noted, in most cases they accompanied their employers to the boat deck and had the same chances of survival - high for the women, low for the men. Male servants were not forced to stay behind any more than their male employers - both had no choice. Servants 'not wanted on voyage', like the Allisons' cook and chauffeur, travelled as 2nd Class passengers and had no contact with their employers during the voyage or during the sinking. Again the women had a good chance of survival, the men not. As a butler, Gary, I'm afraid your best hope would have been to go down like a 'gentleman's gentleman'.

There are other threads in this section or maybe in 'Life on Board' which cover this theme in more detail.

Ryan Landriault

I also heard that the parlour suite B52,54,56 had a stateroom that is booked especially for the servants such as the ladies maid and the velvet. I've gotten feedback that this is true also.

Brian Ahern

Dec 19, 2002
Ryan, I just tried unsuccessfully to locate another thread on this topic, that I believe was quite recent.

I believe servants' accommodation varied. Some - such as Mrs. Robert's maid and Lucy Duff Gordon's secretary (who was ticketed as a servant, oddly), were in E deck staterooms, far below their employers. Others shared staterooms closer to those they worked for. I believe it was Mrs. Douglas who mentioned her maid sharing a stateroom with another passenger's maid. Since Mrs. Douglas mentioned going to the maids' stateroom after the collision, it was probably fairly close to hers.

I don't think there were staterooms specifically constructed for servants. I think you paid a half-fare if you were bringing a servant with you and the line fit them in as it could, probably in the more modest staterooms, where they bunked with other passengers' servants. If a passenger in a luxurious B deck stateroom insisted on having their maid or valet quartered near them, the line probably tried to oblige, but would not have guaranteed it. Titanic's only voyage was underbooked, and so there was a great deal of wiggle room.

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