Hi everyone, one thing that has eluded me is a lot of info on the bridge and wheelhouse. Does anyone have any idea about the dimensions of the bridge and wheelhouse? Any info will be greatly appreciated thanks.
The bridge being an open structure, it is difficult to know where to measure the dimensions from. The wheelhouse on Titanic as closely as I can measure it was 20ft, wide (port to starboard) by 9ft. 6in. long (fore and aft).
If you think of the "bridge" as being the total area of the ship given over to communicatiosn, command and control functions, then it was much larger than most people realize. In terms of the area which was under the direct supervision of the senior officer of the watch, the "bridge" extended 90 feet port to starboard, and nearly 250 feet for and aft.
What is completely overlooked is the distance from the forebridge to the standard compass platform. That platform was an integral part of bridge operations. IMM/White Star regulations required that a junior officer visit the platform every 30 minutes (8 times per watch; 48 times per day) to check the steering compass against the standard compass. On many of those visits, the junior also "shot" azimuths to check the accuracy of the standard compass.
In addition to the standard compass, the two chart rooms were also part of the "bridge." The one for officers was behind the wheelouse, while Captain Smith had a separate room which was also used for this purpose.
All-in-all, Titanic's rather cumbersome layout that made it virtually impossible for the senior officer of the watch to maintain proper bridge management. On the night in question, Murdoch was pretty much alone and out of touch with the information he needed to make better decisions.
The wireless office was also part of the "bridge" in that it was a vital part of communications. There is some evidence of both the wireless operators (Bride in particular) taking messages to the forebridge and of officers bringing messages to Captain Smith.
The physical layout of the forebridge and wheelhouse also created problems. The senior officer was isolated from sight or sound of what was occurring inside the wheelhouse. For instance, he could not hear the "click" of the telemotor pump each time the quartermaster brought the wheel through dead center.
Placement of the telephones made it necessary for the senior officer to leave the forebridge and go inside the wheelhouse to use them. This meant that the forebridge was devoid of an officer performing lookout while the call was being made. That it was standard practice for the senior officer to leave the forebridge is one implication of Lightoller's testimony about listening to Moody phone instructions to the lookouts. Lightoller could not have heard those instructions unless he was virtually inside the wheelhouse. So, while correcting Moody, Lightoller was not performing his primary job of looking out for dangers around the ship.
"Lightoller could not have heard those instructions unless he was virtually inside the wheelhouse. So, while correcting Moody, Lightoller was not performing his primary job of looking out for dangers around the ship."
Maybe not quite inside the wheelhouse but certainly not too far from the wheelhouse door leading out to forebridge. Anyway, today they call that practice "micromanagement" if done intentionally. Hopefully, senior officers did not generally behave that way but trusted their juniors. In any event, according to the lookouts, whatever instruction they did receive from below (from Lightoller via Moody) they repeated to the new set of lookout coming on duty after their 2 hours were up. The bridge did not call the new lookouts with these or revised instructions. When Fleet and Lee took the lookout at 10:00 from Symons and Jewell, Murdoch took over from Lightoller.
Telephones....yes....the problem is that there was not control panal for the watertight doors. They were activated by a switch on the bridge, but there were no indicator lights to show whether or not they were closed.
No I don't. From the testimony, it appeared as though it was of the common water (or salt)resistant electrical switches much like the whistle control switches seen in the wing cabs. A round box with a horizontal lever that you would push forward or back connected to a central shaft. I'm sorry if I am having problems explaining this, but it was a common ship board weather deck switch of the era. That is what I gleaned from the testimony. There would have been molded writing on the switch base like "open" and "closed" and there was a buzzer within close proximity which activated the alarm bells. There was a brass plate over these to give instructions.
I've seen a photo of the bridge of the RMS Olympic...the only one known to exist of any of that class of ship as a matter of fact...which show two circular boxes in front of a telegraph, each with a handle on it. As I understand it, it's one of these that controlled the watertight doors.
>>Lots of sites say that there was indeed a control panel. So your saying there wasn't?<<
Yep. While there are a lot of good websites out there, there are just as many which do little more then perpetuate the myths that have been running around out there for a very long time. That's why it's best to go with primary...as in first hand sources...whenever possible.
>>The J.C. film got it wrong?<<
Yep. Be very careful about taking movies seriously as they tend to be made to entertain, not educate.
"I've seen a photo of the bridge of the RMS Olympic...the only one known to exist of any of that class of ship as a matter of fact...which show two circular boxes in front of a telegraph, each with a handle on it. As I understand it, it's one of these that controlled the watertight doors."
You are speaking of the navigating bridge? I have seen two, one from the Olympic promotional film that was released during her career, and another of the navigating bridge used for the auction. That one had a little kid in it if I remember correctley. In nay case, if in the navigating bridge, those are the two whistle controllers. The watertight door switch was in the wheel house and on one of the longitudinal bulkheads according to testimony - not on the back wall.