Here's Trivia For You...


Did 3rd Class have a bar serving alcohol? I'm trying to determine if the “shot glasses” w/the red White Star logo being sold by Titanic Inc. are authentic reproductions.
Good piece of trivia and the thinking that prevailed at the time. Thank you for posting. I am sure that INC.. made sure that the shot glasses are "authentic" reproductions, but why not sell more coal to support their efforts. I think it defeats the value of originals that might not have been used on the Titanic, but used generally at that time on the White Star line, unless they used those kinds/types of shot glasses only on the Titanic. Sort of defeats the conservation efforts if you ask me.

Adam Went

Thanks guys, not bad choices there.....of course if it was spirits I know gin was especially popular with the poorer classes during the 19th century, the "liquid demon" as it was known, but beer only is a different kettle of fish....

The most popular type of beer in England from the later c19th throughout most of the c20th was IPA (Inda Pale Ale), also known simply as Pale Ale or (in my time) as Bitter. The IPA sold to 3rd Class passengers on the Titanic was almost certainly Bass. Stout would have been available too, again probably made by Bass. This brand was much favoured for the export market and for consumption on board because it 'travelled well'. But travellers' accounts from the period suggest that there wasn't much demand in 3rd Class. The thrifty people who'd saved enough for a ticket tended not to be heavy drinkers, and to have in any case little cash to spare for boozing during the crossing. The most popular commodity sold at the 'bar', in fact, was fruit.

Jim Currie

Hello there Bob. Evidence of a mis-spent youth?

Here's more trivia.

Most of my aunts and uncles were adults at the time of Titanic. While they were not total abstainers, they were working class and had a particular attitude toward strong drink which was a mixture of disinterest and morality rather than an economic one.

Religion was indeed 'the opium of the people' and strong drink was considered a tool of 'auld Nick' son of the Devil.

Long before Titanic was even thought of, social passtimes changed from principally drinking to many other forms of leisure activity. In 1912, there were no less than 14 cinemas in Glasgow and heaven knows how many theaters. The Glasgow-Rangers soccer match in 1912 had an attendance of 74,000.

Temperance Societies, Temperance Lodging Houses and Templars Halls were to be found in every township.
In Scotland, the pubs opened at 10am and closed at 2pm. They opened again at 6pm and closed at 9pm and were closed all day Sunday.( even up until the late 50s early 60s).
Women were never seen in a pub except perhaps in the 'Snug' which was set aside for them. Even in my early drinking days, these were 'scarlet women'.).
Men drank 'Heavy'. Heavy was what my American offshore friends called Skaatish black beer! Incidentally; was that the origin of the description a heavy drinker?
The working man's tipple on a Saturday night was a half gill of cheap blended whiskey washed down with a pint of heavy.
The Irishmen liked their 'Black and Tan'.

As a matter of interest, I never learned about the decadent age my parents lived in until I saw it in a Hollywood movie. (tongue in cheek)

Yes, I did have a mis-spent youth!

Jim C.
Hallo, Jim. Unfortunately my mis-spent youth doesn't extend quite as far back as 1912, but here's part of an an interesting description of a typical pub in southern England from the novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, written in 1910:

<< The bar was arranged in the usual way, being divided into several compartments. First there was the 'Saloon Bar': on the glass of the door leading into this was fixed a printed bill: 'No four ale served in this bar.' Next to the saloon bar was the jug and bottle department, much appreciated by ladies who wished to indulge in a drop of gin on the quiet. There were also two small 'private' bars, only capable of holding two or three persons, where nothing less than fourpennyworth of spirits or glasses of ale at threepence were served. Finally, the public bar, the largest compartment of all. At each end, separating it from the other departments, was a wooden partition, painted and

Wooden forms fixed across the partitions and against the walls under the windows provided seating accommodation for the customers. A large automatic musical instrument--a 'penny in the slot' polyphone - resembling a grandfather clock in shape - stood against one of the partitions and close up to the counter, so that those behind the bar could reach to wind it up. Hanging on the partition near the polyphone was a board about fifteen inches square, over the surface of which were distributed a number of small hooks, numbered. At the bottom of the board was a net made of fine twine, extended by means of a semi-circular piece of wire. In this net several india-rubber rings about three inches in diameter were lying. There was no table in the place but jutting out from the other partition was a hinged flap about three feet long by twenty inches wide, which could be folded down when not in use. This was the shove-ha'penny board. The coins - old French pennies - used in playing this game were kept behind the bar and might be borrowed on application. On the partition, just above the shove-ha'penny board was a neatly printed notice, framed and glazed: NOTICE - Gentlemen using this house are requested to refrain from using obscene language.

Alongside this notice were a number of gaudily-coloured bills advertising the local theatre and the music-hall, and another of a travelling circus and menagerie, then visiting the town and encamped on a piece of waste ground about half-way on the road to Windley. The fittings behind the bar, and the counter, were of polished mahogany, with silvered plate glass at the back of the shelves. On the shelves were rows of bottles and cut-glass decanters, gin, whisky, brandy and wines and liqueurs of different kinds.>>

NB: The 'public bar' was also known as a 'four-ale bar', which sold the cheapest beer at twopence a pint - ie fourpence a quart, thus 'four ale'. Note that this was not available in the rather more upmarket saloon or private bars in the pub, where better quality beer at threepence a pint was served along with the usual wines and spirits which were available in all the bars.

For those who want to experience a real Victorian/Edwardian London pub I recommend the Princess Louise on High Holborn, very close to Holborn Underground station. It's a warren of tiny bars fitted out with mahogany, tiles and engraved glass, never modernised or updated since it was built well over a century ago. Sadly, however, they have updated the prices so don't expect to be served with four ale!
Here's a view of the four-ale bar in the Princess Louise. The actual 'bar' from which drinks are served is on the left. There are smaller and more private drinking areas behind the partitions in the background. The lone drinker isn't me (but bears a strong resemblance).

princess  louise sm.jpg

princess  louise sm.jpg
Hi Jim!!
I remember a Christmas (dry) spent with my much-loved Weslyan Methodist Sheffield aunties when I was in my mid-20s, and a Londoner. They were worried about catering to my requirements and apologised as soon as I set foot in the house for not having "intoxicating liquor" to hand. Well, that didn't matter at all, as I rather crisply remarked - it's not as though I hadn't anticipated the dearth of cocktails or indeed was worried about it - but I did have to gulp down sticky lemonade when I would rather have had just plain water. When I left they told me they were very relieved that I could go 4 days without alcohol. I felt it necessary to tell them that booze wasn't obligatory, merely optional. But I think they remembered times in their youth when men were drinking these ghastly beers you and Bob have been fondly reminiscing about. C'mon chaps ... they weren't good .... they really weren't. They were flat, warm, cloudy and bitter. The only reason you'd want to drink them is if they were safer than water - which for centuries they were since they were made with boiled water and brewed. Even children drank weak versions of them.