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Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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I know that the gentlemen were presented with a boutonniere every evening, but did the ladies get corsages? And who arranged the flowers, was it the stewards for the public rooms and the cabin stewards for the passenger rooms? Or was there a florist aboard?
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Tuna!

I'm familiar with the 'flower discussion' on the other bulletin board, and -- although I didn't raise the question on that board -- I'm curious about the source which supposedly claims that male passengers received a boutonniere daily. Do you have any idea where that info came from?

All my best,

George
 

Don Tweed

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Mr. Behe,
I do not know you, yet I have seen you in my library of films. Your emotion on the subject is admirable and I admire your meddle.
I am but a cog of the machine that keeps this sight at breakneck speed.
I bestow my thanks to you and the other well educated and informed folks that make my computer something I love to come home to.
There is hope.
And hope is all anyone can ask.
Respectfully, Don
 

George Behe

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Hi, Don!

Thanks very much for your kind sentiments; I enjoy reading your postings, too -- they help make ET a very enjoyable part of my life. (Please don't minimize the importance of your own contributions, either, Don, because we're *all* just cogs in the machine.)

Take care, my friend.

All my best,

George
 

Bob Godfrey

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My mother, then called Maisie Simmons, was a teenage florist in the mid-1930s and has recollections that may be of interest here. She worked for Jonquils in the Kings Road, Chelsea, and one of her regular tasks was the preparation of table arrangements for the Orient Line. These were loaded into wooden crates and taken to Fenchurch Street station for consignment by rail to Tilbury. Voyages on the Orient Line took weeks rather than days, so the flowers were replenished as necessary at other ports along the way.

Going further off-topic, Jonquils had a lot of customers among the Chelsea theatrical set, including Robert Douglas (later best known as a Hollywood villain), Esmond Knight ('Sink the Bismarck'), Nora Swinburne and Laurence Olivier. My mother particularly remembers Olivier, who lived nearby and called in every morning for a dark red 'clove carnation' which was prepared and attached by her own eager hands.
 
Nov 9, 2002
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Hey All,
As I read in Onboard The Titanic before, the men get yellow carnations while boarding at Southampton. I hope this helps!

Sahand
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Great story Bob about your mother and Olivier! I have a little florist business which has gotten me in the servants entrance of some of the Newport mansions but nothing to beat Olivier! I always wondered about Titanic's first class diningroom centerpieces- Don Lynch has had some references to roses- others maintain it was daffodils. The photo above is Mrs. Haisman and Mr. Navratil along with some of the children passengers aboard Island Breeze, 1996 over Titanic's wrecksite. I never read about florists being onstaff before on an old liner, I had a hard time getting flowers from the ship's galley for this photo- they use flowers for garnish, and there were some welcome aboard bouquets before we left which I had to recycle! Pink carnations were all they had- still that was the flower used with black and purple silk ribbons at the Halifax cemetery in 1912. Mrs. Haisman just remarked when this picture was done, that she had always wanted to leave flowers- so this was a special moment.
 

George Behe

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Hi, all!

The only passenger references to floral centerpieces that I can recall at the moment referred to those on the B deck restaurant tables; those flowers included white daisies, pink roses and American Beauty roses.

All my best,

George
 

Lee Gilliland

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George, I got it from one of the most popular sources on this board, i.e. I read it somewhere but I can't remember where. That really helps, don't it?
 
Mar 20, 2000
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I believe Lucy Duff Gordon referred in her autobiography to a big vase of daffodils on her table in the a la carte restaurant on April 14.
 

George Behe

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Hi, Randy!

At 4 o'clock this morning I woke up and suddenly remembered Lucy's recollection of the daffodils on her table. (Hey, I didn't have anything better to think about at 4 a.m.) :)

Hi, Tuna!

I know how you feel -- my memory does the same thing to me more and more often these days. (Hopefully, though, the 'vanished' information will come back to you at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.) :)

All my best,

George
 
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Brian Hawley

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This thread has me thinking of a photo caption in "I have seen them all naked” concerning the staff onboard the Queens that were charged with keeping the flowers up to par. The crew often referred to them as flower stranglers! I once owned a 1923 Cunard magazine that chronicled the work of a gardener onboard the Aquitania. So I think its safe to assume someone also had a job like this onboard O/T.

Brian
 
Mar 20, 2000
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George wrote: (Hey, I didn't have anything better to think about at 4 a.m.) :)

If I were Pat I'd slap you!

Brian wrote: So I think its safe to assume someone also had a job like this onboard O/T.

I'd like to think WSL had at least a couple of lisping florists in their employ.
 
Dec 13, 1999
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Randy, If I were Pat I'd slap him anyway, and not just for the above mentioned reason!

It is probably covered on the other thread - but at my time of life, flicking through various threads is just too much for me but, who provided the flowers and plants for Titanic? A lady near where I live provided them for the Lusitania and charged them a weekly rate. When the Lusitania was torpedoed, she had to apply for relief as virtually all of her stock went down with it.She was eventually paid a small amount from the Relief Fund as Cunard simply told her to "take the matter up with the German Government after the cesation of hostilities!"

Geoff
 

Bob Godfrey

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White Star Line obtained their flowers and potted plants from F G Bealing & Son, nursery and horticultural florist, of Highfield. On the evening before Titanic sailed, the plants were taken to the dock by mule cart then laid out initially on a tarpaulin in one of the foyers. Mr Bealing and his foreman Bill Geapin then took the potted plants (3-400 in number) to their final locations, which were partly determined by Bealing's own suggestions. The cut flowers were stored in 'cool rooms' for later use as required.

On earlier ships there was a tradition of placing a 'Bealing buttonhole' at each place in the First Class dining saloon, and the family believe that buttonholes (probably carnations) were given out also to Titanic passengers on sailing day, many of these blooms ending up in the water as the ship pulled out.

(Sourced from 'Titanic Voices')
 

Bob Godfrey

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From the deck plans in Eaton & Haas, the 'cool rooms' mentioned by Frank Bealing were presumably those labelled as 'passenger fruit and flowers' in the food storage area on G deck aft and 'fruit flowers' near the galley for the A la Carte Restaurant on B deck.

I think it likely that the cut flowers for the table decorations were supplied as pre-arranged bunches, as flower arranging requires at least a modicum of skill and experience and there appears to have been no florist onboard. The crew listings are generally very specific about the duties of the victualling staff, and while there is a telephone steward, library steward, bugler steward etc there is no mention of a flower or gardener steward.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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On Titanic, as is often done today, flowers were stored in cool rooms. I have never seen any references to flower decorations in Titanic's D deck dining room. I think (but I could be wrong) that Mrs. Futrelle also mentioned daffodils at her table. It may be that some nights roses were used, and at other nights daffodils. Or, perhaps both were used on the same night at different tables.

I think flowers could be arranged at 'a' or several tables in the D deck dining saloon for special occasions, but they were not the norm for table settings. I think for breakfast, fruit was used for decoration at tables, as well as eating by passengers.

Daniel.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Daniel, Mrs Futrelle and Mrs Walter Douglas both mentioned roses on the restaurant tables. Like you, I can't find any reference to flowers for the dining room on D-deck, and the plans show no storage area for flowers in that vicinity.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Hi Daniel, Bob and Mme. Shelley!

(As Mammy said in Gone With the Wind: "Lawdy, it sho is good to see home folks.")

The information as to May Futrelle's and Mahala Douglas' memories of roses in the restaurant, contrasted with Lucy Duff Gordon's memory of daffodils, suggests a lovely theme. I'm a bit dim in my knowledge of Edwardian floral arrangements (apart from Lucile's hallmark scheme of lilac, roses and carnations). But I have the feeling that Shell, who orders thousands of flowers for her church every week, might have an inkling about this subject. So to that dear lady, what of the possibility of a daffodils/roses combination for the a la carte restaurant? Is that a likely combination?


My thought, in looking over the room's floor plan, is that perhaps the central tables were adorned with roses and that the peripheral tables had daffodils. I propose this as we know that the Duff Gordons, together with Mabel Francatelli, were seated at a table described as being in a recessed area or an alcove. This may be an exaggeration of the fact that they merely occupied a corner table. However, in the center of the room, according to the deck plan here on ET, is a table banked with half-walls which I have always suspected to be the one at which Lucy and Cosmo and "Miss Franks" had their last meal on Titanic.

If we knew where the Douglases and the Futrelles were seated it might give us a better idea of how the flowers were arranged that night.

As an aside, am I correct in assuming that the restaurant's largest table, located along the windows looking out on the Cafe Parisien, is the one where the Widener party for Captain Smith was held?

Randy
 
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