Incomplete parts at the time of the voyage.

Various sources I have read reported that there were various items that were not complete when she sailed. I specifically recall reading that water closets were still packed in wooden cases and that many flowers were placed throughout the ship to mask the smell of the fresh paint. I am curious if there is a list of the things that were not complete. Also, how common was this? Did the BOT know of this, and did they issue a report? Thanks.

I am c


On a ship that is so big there are bound to be a few things that have been overlooked or shoddily done. Nothing is perfect after all and we miserable human beings are prone to make mistakes !

The Board of Trade were interested in if the ship was fully seaworthy and that her engines, boilers, dynamos, steering gear, watertight doors, pumps, engine room telegraphs, navigation lights, firefighting equipment and lifeboats etc etc were all correctly installed and in good working order. And also that the cabins, passageways, public rooms and galleys were hygienic.

It was of no importance to the Board of Trade if here and there some paint was still wet, a few cabin heaters, fans or lights were on the blink or a dining room table wasn't quite level.

You may be interested in this deposition by a second class survivor called ImanIta Shelley. She seemed more concerned with criticising the unfinished second class accommodation amongst other things than the actual sinking.

There is a story (it may be apocryphal, or it may not be) of the delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton where Thomas Andrews was reportedly furious at discovering some vile anti-Catholic graffiti scrawled on one of the lower decks, left behind by the workmen.

Another possibly true (or not) story I've read is that steward Frederick Dent Ray found that a badly fitted carpet was making a door hard to open properly in one of the public rooms. So he got permission to cut a small part of the carpet out to allow the door to open easily. He had this bit of carpet in his coat pocket as he abandoned ship and the fragment eventually ended up being given away piece by piece as a kind of souvenir.
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An article by Mike Poirier on Eleanor Cassebeer describes her claim (it’s also in her account by a Binghampton, NY paper) that there was an empty frame on her cabin wall that should’ve contained instructions on where to find her lifebelt. I know there were such placards, but I’ve never seen one and I don’t know if it would have given a boat assignment or any other information.

I wonder to what extent the Board of Trade inspected the lifebelts. The number aboard was documented and I’d assume they’d at least spot-check some to verify that they were in place and that they met BoT standards (considering the disintegrating, useless lifebelts on the General Slocum). Also, I don’t know if they inspected galleys or even firefighting equipment — information on that aboard Titanic is scant and what was documented was much less than you’d expect.

I highly doubt Andrews became furious about anti-Catholic graffiti, if there was any, but I won’t get into that here.


Also, I don’t know if they inspected galleys or even firefighting equipment — information on that aboard Titanic is scant and what was documented was much less than you’d expect.

Firefighting equipment at least was looked at.

19099. (The Solicitor-General.) I understand so, My Lord. You have seen the Passenger Certificate; for the moment I am only calling attention to the number of passengers and crew. Now that, My Lord, your Lordship will find when we call our Board of Trade evidence, is in its turn based upon a certificate given by a Board of Trade official in Belfast, Mr. Carruthers, and it is right, I think, that Mr. Sanderson should just have the substance of it put to him, because it shows how the ship comes to satisfy the Board of Trade. The certificate of Mr. Carruthers (I will just read it.) is on the 2nd April, 1912. He says he completed the inspection of the steamship "Titanic." He says that the hull and machinery were sufficient for the service intended, and in good condition. He says "that the boats and life-saving appliances, lights, signals, compasses, safety valves, and firehose are such and in such condition as are required by the merchant Shipping Acts." He says, "that the hull and machinery and equipments will in my judgment be sufficient until (b.) 2nd April, 1913." That is to say, they will for 12 months be sufficient. He says, "That the load to be placed on the safety valves should not exceed the pressure in pounds per square inch on page 4 of this form, and that the safety valves have been adjusted accordingly. That the vessel, as regards hull, Machinery, and equipments, is in my judgment fit to ply as a foreign-going passenger steamer. That the vessel is in my judgment fit to carry the number of passengers stated on page 2 of this form," and when one turns to page 2 of this form, one finds that the total number of passengers is 2,603, which added to the 944 of crew gives that same figure of 3,547 which is in the Passenger Certificate. That is where it comes from. Then he also says, "That the certificates of the master, Mates, and Engineers are such as are required by the merchant Shipping Act." Your Lordship has this form before you, and it is on that, that the Passenger Certificate is issued if your Lordship will look at the last page, it is the right hand of those two pages, and the reference back to page 2 of the form will show your Lordship that he certifies for passengers. What I have handed up to your Lordship last is the survey, which justifies the certificate for a passenger ship. Now, this ship, I think, Mr. Sanderson, passed not only as a passenger ship, but as an emigrant ship?

Admittedly, Carruthers certificate doesn't mention the galleys, cabins, public rooms or passageways.

However it shows that "life saving appliances" and the fire hoses were indeed inspected and satisfied the Board of Trade.

"Life saving appliances" surely would include the life preservers ? It must have been a random sample though, as one man going through over three thousand five hundred of them and giving them a good close look and feel would have taken rather a while !

I highly doubt Andrews became furious about anti-Catholic graffiti, if there was any, but I won’t get into that here.

As I said "it may be apocryphal, or it may not be". Who knows ?

Brian Rose

It's comparatively minor, but in the Cork/Irish Examiner photo taken of the forward boat deck (with boat 8 in the foreground) you can clearly see that not all the handrails have been installed on the deckhouse enclosing the Grand Staircase.
The Board of Trade was under staff to do a full inspection. As Charles Lightoller second officer said in his book. Maurice Clarke Board of Trade inspector was know as a nuisance person because he is so strict. Clarke with the lack of help within the time scale had to focus on the central working parts of the ship. He only had time to check two lifeboats. If he had more staff and time he would of checked all the lifeboats.
Then the burning question of the coal bunker fire. Did Clarke have time to check? Given half the chance he would of checked for himself. It's all to easy to say coal bunker fires were a common thing. Therefore don't bother. If he had discovered the fire would he have given that seaworthy certificate? I doubt it myself.
Then I ask myself if I was a paying passenger, would you want to sail on a ship knowing there was a coal bunker fire in progress?
The coal bunker fire was started in Belfast not in the middle of the Atlantic. It's at Southampton that the fire should of been put out and not in the middle of the Atlantic!


Mike: That’s just your opinion. They were confident they could deal with it as a matter of routine and they did. End of story.
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Bob: Are they putting profit before safety here? Is it the same old story has a 100 years ago or today. Where companies get suck in we must make more profits than the previous year! White Star Line was a profitable company they could well afford a delay in Titanic in putting out the fire and finished off the uncompleted work.
That decision to set sail on the 10th April was not captain Smith choice. That is the Board of Directors of the company who hold the power of the company. The ultimate power within the company is the company Chairman!
Mr B Ismay was know as a bombastic an arrogant man making quick decisions before looking at all angles first. Not like his father Thomas who look at all angles before making his mind up.
What was more alarming Ismay would of have the perfect excuse to delay the crossing and save the reputation of the company. By saying, Due to the national coal strike the Titanic will be delayed until further notice. The company with other IMM ships in Southampton at the time had the capacity to take those passengers and coal to!
We hear too much as today with company Board of Directors who make those incorrect decisions, and then try to shift the blame on others within the company!


Leave silly, unfounded conspiracy theories about the coal bunker fire for another thread where they belong. Now to get this thread back on topic.

I have a hazy memory of once reading that one or two appliances in the Titanic's galleys weren't working properly. Can anyone confirm that ?


Steady now Bob, you might just give Lightoller's granddaughter an idea for her next awful Titanic related pulp fiction. :D

I really have probably imagined this about the galley's so it may not be true. I'm totally scunnered trying to remember where I might have read this.

I just seem to vaguely recall something about how one or two minor things in the galleys were faulty although it was only minor stuff, nothing major like the ovens or the refrigeration. As I say, I've probably imagined it.

In any event the passengers could have done without mince or mashed potatoes for a few days couldn't they ?