Mixing of the classes


Oct 28, 2000
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Put in simple, non legalistic terms --

There are several little-known aspects to carrying passengers on international voyages. One is quarantine. A vessel could be prevented from entering a port if officials deemed it might be carrying any of various diseases. The incubation period for these diseases would determine how long the ship had to abstain from contact with shore. Needless to say, no shipping company wanted to lose the productivity of its expensive equipment by sitting at anchor. So, medical quarantine protocols were rigidly enforced in Titanic's day.

Something else -- the return passage. If any passenger were deemed unfit to be landed in a foreign company, that person had to be returned to his point of origin at the expense of the shipping company. While quarantine rules are less rigidly enforced, It is still common practice for countries to require an arriving ship to post bond equal to the return passage of each person carried. The bonds don't come free and sometimes prevent companies from making profitable runs on otherwise obvious routes.

Third class was not really for just the poor and unwashed. During the period when the American frontier was being developed a fair number of middle-class families chose steerage for ease of entering their new country. Steerage passengers received health screenings, etc before boarding most immigrant ships. This meant fewer unpaid return voyages for the shipping companies. From the ship steerage passengers went to Ellis Island and were often in America within a few days, free to board a train or other transportation west to the frontier.

First and second class usually traveled with passports and visas. While these made entry into a foreign country a formality, they were not intended for immigrants coming to become permanent citizens. Strict bureaucratic regulations were in place to prevent "class jumping" by anyone who might not be "acceptable" as an immigrant.

-- David G. Brown
 
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May 3, 2005
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This is aĺl hearsay and part of what my brother called "family myths and legends", so be advised.
There was an uncle who had traveled from the USA to the UK and back sometime in 1936 or 1937, most likely returning on RMS Queen Mary. He was traveling to visit relatives in Tunbridge Wells. His parents had emigrated from Tunbridge Wells to Belton, Texas in 1885, but the rest of the family had remained in England.
He was known to be something of a "penny pincher" and traveled Third Class. He had traveled in Third Class and had a Deck Plan showing his cabin on D Deck. He also remarked that on the return passage "Queen Mary rolled over" so this must have been one of those alarming rolls of which Queen Mary was notorious. This is just an incident of a middle class person, rather than an immigrant, traveling in Third Class.Things were probably a bit different on RMS Queen Mary in 1936 or 1937 than they were on RMS Titanic in 1912 ! LOL

I had planned to take a trip to England via RMS Queen Mary in 1965 and had reserved a Second Clas cabin in C Deck.
But I cancelled and decided to go to the New York World's Fair instead. I had the opportunity to visit Queen Mary in port in New York. I was glad I cancelled. That cabin on C Deck didn't look took too promising.

Some years lated we stayed at Hotel Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach in Long Beach, California. We stated in a former First Class Suiite on M Deck on one occasion and on A Deck on another occasion.We also had a dinner at Sir Winston's and took a guided tour from Engine Room to Bridge. Except for the sailing, you might say "We went First Class."

So that is about my experience on Ocean Liners. LOL

My Navy experiences were on a Transport, Escort Aircraft Carrier, and Seaplane Tender with one way trips via a Destroyer and Destroyer Tender and an overnight stay on a Barracks Ship, and including a year in training on shore duty.
 
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Aly Jones

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Hello,

A couple of questions in regards to entering other class areas.

What were the punishments for crossing over into other class areas?

Were there crew manning each gate crossing?

Did you need your boarding pass to prove what class you are in?
 
May 3, 2005
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>>I was just wondering if the classes mixed at all

Not as a rule. But every once in a while, some adventuresome 1st- or 2nd-class passenger would find his/her way below decks. It was a form of "slumming" for people looking for a "good time," much the way Rose did in the movie. It wasn't encouraged, and it certainly didn't work the other way, but it happened. My great aunt did it as a young woman on her way over here from Scotland. Scotland the Brave!

I've run this question by Don Lynch and Rick Archbold, and I'm told Maxtone-Graham writes about it as well.

Roy
This thread has been inactive for some time and the subject has most likely been covered before.
In reference to fictional romance in Titanic movies.
Wouldn't the meeting of " Gifford Rogers " and " Annette Sturges " ("Titanic" 1953 )be more likely and believeable than " Jack Dawson " and " Rose Dewitt-Bukater" ("Titanic" 1997) ?
 

Aly Jones

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Here is 2 good questions I would like to know. I'm not sure if this should have its own thread or not.?

I know there is a rule that officers were not allowed to mix with passengers and visa versa at all on a voyage. I know on both the Australian / NZ run, both Murdoch and Lightoller courted thier wives on those runs. That means they mingled with each other? It seems they go after English, Aussies, NZ ladies only but what about on the SH to NY run? Did they ever court women on transatlantic runs?

Also if you were a lady passenger, did you have any chance of getting thier attention if you desired them ? Or will they tell you to go away? Did they prefer to make the first move, rather than the women? Which I believe since they're Edwardian men.

I'm guessing if you did manage to mingle with the officers, you were not allowed to show off or be seen in public together.?
Talking about when officer is off duty mid voyage.
:)
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Here is 2 good questions I would like to know. I'm not sure if this should have its own thread or not.?

I know there is a rule that officers were not allowed to mix with passengers and visa versa at all on a voyage. I know on both the Australian / NZ run, both Murdoch and Lightoller courted thier wives on those runs. That means they mingled with each other? It seems they go after English, Aussies, NZ ladies only but what about on the SH to NY run? Did they ever court women on transatlantic runs?

Also if you were a lady passenger, did you have any chance of getting thier attention if you desired them ? Or will they tell you to go away? Did they prefer to make the first move, rather than the women? Which I believe since they're Edwardian men.

I'm guessing if you did manage to mingle with the officers, you were not allowed to show off or be seen in public together.?
Talking about when officer is off duty mid voyage.
:)
Didn't they make a movie abouth that in the 80's? "Perth Girls Are Easy" or something.
 

Aly Jones

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I'm just guessing but it would be interesting if anyone knows just how Lightoller in particular met his future wife in Australia ?
While " ashore " off duty, but not "aboard" ship ?
I thought he chase her mid voyage to Australia. Appreanlty she had a club foot trying to climb the stairs so he picked her up and carried her.
 

RileyGardner17

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1) I'm not sure of punishment per se. I'd suspect 1st/2nd class cross over was one aspect, but a steerage passenger getting into first was more of a severe issue primarily due to immigration laws. If officials in a US port discovered such a thing had been going on, it was in their power to prevent the ship's passengers from disembarking due to the possibility of diseases spreading. Hence why the class separation was taken seriously.

2) No. Not in terms of an assigned duty, but there were plenty of crew around to see such a thing going on.

3) Hard to imagine a situation where a passenger would be getting a shake down like that from crew. It's worth noting that a steerage passenger getting into First Class and hiding away would've been immensely difficult. Dress, customs, manner of speech, ethnicity, connections, etiquette distinctions, etc. would've made it rather conspicuous.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I was reading a bit more about David Bowen and Leslie Williams, the Welsh miners turned boxers who were travelling to America on board the Titanic to take part in a few professional boxing bouts. Unfortunately, both died in the sinking.

But on David 'Dai' Bowen's bio on Wikipedia, there is a comment that that the two men paid £16+ for their Third class tickets because they had been granted special permission to access the facilities in the First Class gymnasium. Is that true and if so, were there any other 'permitted' class breaches on board the Titanic?
 
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I was reading a bit more about David Bowen and Leslie Williams, the Welsh miners turned boxers who were travelling to America on board the Titanic to take part in a few professional boxing bouts. Unfortunately, both died in the sinking.

But on David 'Dai' Bowen's bio on Wikipedia, there is a comment that that the two men paid £16+ for their Third class tickets because they had been granted special permission to access the facilities in the First Class gymnasium. Is that true and if so, were there any other
'permitted' class breaches on board the Titanic?
I've never heard or read of any. The only thing that might be considered that would be the medical facilities if someone needed them. But I have a feeling that if a JJ Astor invited someone from say the second class to have dinner with him nobody would say Jack to him about it.
 
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Seumas

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I was reading a bit more about David Bowen and Leslie Williams, the Welsh miners turned boxers who were travelling to America on board the Titanic to take part in a few professional boxing bouts. Unfortunately, both died in the sinking.

But on David 'Dai' Bowen's bio on Wikipedia, there is a comment that that the two men paid £16+ for their Third class tickets because they had been granted special permission to access the facilities in the First Class gymnasium. Is that true and if so, were there any other 'permitted' class breaches on board the Titanic?
I'd want to see a cast iron source for that one. It sounds very fishy.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I'd want to see a cast iron source for that one. It sounds very fishy.
I also thought that it was unlikely but it is from the Wikipedia link below. I know that Wiki info can be wrong, but the sources appear to have researched into Bowen's boxing career etc in some detail. Having said that, it ways that Bowen and Williams were scheduled to ravel on board the Lusitania on 6th April 1912 when they postponed the journey due to delay in arrival of their suits. I understood that they had tickets on the Baltic.

 

Seumas

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I also thought that it was unlikely but it is from the Wikipedia link below. I know that Wiki info can be wrong, but the sources appear to have researched into Bowen's boxing career etc in some detail. Having said that, it ways that Bowen and Williams were scheduled to ravel on board the Lusitania on 6th April 1912 when they postponed the journey due to delay in arrival of their suits. I understood that they had tickets on the Baltic.

I've had a look at that article Steve but it's unconvincing.

All it lists are two sources - an article by Swansea Council and the BBC - which themselves don't name their sources. It's poor stuff.

The Wikipedia claim "Their ticket was a higher price than the regular steerage ticket as it allowed them access to the first class passengers' gym." also has no reference citation next to it. Very shoddy.

Unless a document turns up proving that they had access to the gymnasium then it simply didn't happen.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Furthermore, if two Third Class passengers were allowed special access to a First Class area (the gymnasium), it would have been noticed and commented upon by several survivors and something interesting enough to be mentioned in most Titanic books. I have never seen that anywhere.
 
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I've had a look at that article Steve but it's unconvincing.

All it lists are two sources - an article by Swansea Council and the BBC - which themselves don't name their sources. It's poor stuff.

The Wikipedia claim "Their ticket was a higher price than the regular steerage ticket as it allowed them access to the first class passengers' gym." also has no reference citation next to it. Very shoddy.

Unless a document turns up proving that they had access to the gymnasium then it simply didn't happen.
I think you meant Arun. But that's ok. It was interesting to read his letter to his mother. Funny that he mentioned to his mum that he no boxing gloves. If he did get to use the gym I guess it was just to work out unless the gym had gloves to use. I know people have made up a lot of stories about Titanic but that seems like an odd story to fabricate. I don't know how one would prove it one way or the other today.
 

Seumas

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I think you meant Arun. But that's ok. It was interesting to read his letter to his mother. Funny that he mentioned to his mum that he no boxing gloves. If he did get to use the gym I guess it was just to work out unless the gym had gloves to use. I know people have made up a lot of stories about Titanic but that seems like an odd story to fabricate. I don't know how one would prove it one way or the other today.
It's really hard to imagine White Star throwing the strict American immigration laws out of the window for two men. What if someone had complained to the US authorities ?

If there is no source (and there isn't) then it has to go down as rubbish I'm afraid.
 

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