Mixing of the classes


Arun Vajpey

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If there is no source (and there isn't) then it has to go down as rubbish I'm afraid
I followed the Welsh link and found that the likely source was Roger Gale, the Exhibitions and Events officer at the Swansea Museum in Swansea, Wales. This is linked to the Swansea City Council. Gale had reportedly done research on Welsh people on board the Titanic starting from 5th Officer Lowe. I have e-mailed Gale asking for more information.
 

Seumas

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I followed the Welsh link and found that the likely source was Roger Gale, the Exhibitions and Events officer at the Swansea Museum in Swansea, Wales. This is linked to the Swansea City Council. Gale had reportedly done research on Welsh people on board the Titanic starting from 5th Officer Lowe. I have e-mailed Gale asking for more information.
I have my suspicions that it's another silly family legend.

The likes of George Behe, Tad Fitch, Bill Wormstedt et al would tell you those kind of things don't count as proof and I agree.
 

Seumas

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They have promised me that they will make good use of the gym on board, so they ought to be fit to hold their own on the other side.

Seems more like a light-hearted comment on their part.

Those immigration laws were strict. No third class mixing with first class.
 

Arun Vajpey

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They have promised me that they will make good use of the gym on board, so they ought to be fit to hold their own on the other side.
Thanks for that ET. But I have to admit that comment does sound a bit light-hearted, perhaps reassurance to the writer (a coach perhaps or more likely their Physical Training instructor George Cundick, who organized those fights in America). The letter does not say that they were allowed access to the First Class gym; I wonder if Roger Gale, who contributed that Wiki bio, assumed it when he read the letter.

I am going to try and contact Mr Gale and see where we go.
 

Arun Vajpey

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They probably assumed their manager had booked them first class :)
It would be interesting to see which class Cundick had booked them on the Baltic. Also, when they cancelled those tickets so late, would there have been a penalty? If so, it could explain why their manager was annoyed (all because of a suit) and 'taught them a lesson' but booking them in Third Class on board the Titanic. Also, Titanic's tickets were more expensive, I believe.
 

Encyclopedia Titanica

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Be good to see if he can provide other sources. As an aside I have noticed that different sources give their original vessel as Lucania, Lusitania and Baltic. Again, sources vary on whether they actually had booked on another ship or just intended to.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Update: This is a follow-up to my further research into whether there was any possibility that Welsh boxers and Titanic victims Leslie Williams and David Bowen, who were travelling as Third Class passengers, could have been allowed special access to use the facilities in the First Class gymnasium. That is what is claimed in David Bowen's bio on Wikipedia, the information coming from recently retired Events & Exhibitions Officer at the Swansea Museum, Roger Gale.

Over more than 2 weeks I have got in touch with several Welsh news outlets, Welsh Boxing sites and Boxing writers. They were all helpful and co-operative since the fate of poor Williams and Bowen is well remembered in Welsh boxing circles even after over 100 years. I finally got a detailed response from Gareth Jones, a well known Sports and Boxing writer for South Wales Echo. While he was unable to provide absolute concrete evidence (that would satisfy my good friend Seumas ;) ), he did believe that it was a strong probability that such an arrangement was made. Following is the gist of the story of how Bowen and Williams ended-up on the Titanic.

First of all, that was the time when thousands of Welsh coal miners had emigrated to America to work in the coal mines around Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania. As there was also a "boxing interest" in many of those young men, several local promoters acted as talent scouts to pick out likely candidates. One such man was Frank Torreyson, a well known Boxing promoter from Pittsburgh who developed a special interest in incoming Welsh talent. To that end he liaised with Charles "Chas" Barnett, a staff writer for Western Mail, boxing writer for Welsh Boxing News and himself a part-time boxing referee.

Sometime in the latter half of 1911, Torreyson wrote to Charlie Barnett asking him to provide a couple of good young Welsh boxers to put up a show throughout Pennsylvania. Barnett responded by nominating Leslie Williams and Jimmy Wilde, the latter then a little known young miner from Rhondda, Wales. Torreyson accepted Williams but felt that Wilde was too small and asked for a replacement. That was where David 'Dai' Bowen came in and as we all know now, it was he who sailed with Williams on that tragic journey.

Gareth Jones felt that all the travel arrangements were made by Charlie Barnett himself and the boxers' trainer George Cundick had little, if anything to do with them. They were originally booked to travel the previous week on board the Lusitania (and not the Baltic or any other ship, as claimed by some sources) but this had to be cancelled due to Leslie Williams' new and expensive suit not being ready on time. So, they were transferred to the Titanic's maiden voyage; the bookings were done through Dean & Dawson of Cardiff and Gareth Jones confirmed that each Third Class ticket const £16 and 2 shillings (around $75 each), certainly a very high fare for steerage. Moreover, various types of special arrangements for a price were known to be made in those days and so while Jones was unable to provide concrete evidence, he very strongly felt that the gym access story was true. It would have been at pre-arranged fixed times, presumably to minimize the 'dreaded' class mixing of those days.

Ironically, Jimmy Wilde, the Welsh boxer who Torreyson thought was not well known enough in 1911, lived to tell the tale because he did not accompany Williams on the Titanic. (It still would have been the Titanic because it was Leslie Williams' suit that was delayed and caused the change of travel plans). But Wilde did go across to the US a few years later, was a huge and very popular success, and went on to become the Flyweight Boxing Champion of the world. He is regarded in some circles as the greatest British boxer of all time.

PS: While David Bowen's body was never found, Leslie Williams' was. But its condition necessitated a sea burial, something that reportedly upset his family a lot. However, his personal effects were carefully returned and among them was a snake ring given to Williams.........by Jimmy Wilde.
 
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Update: This is a follow-up to my further research into whether there was any possibility that Welsh boxers and Titanic victims Leslie Williams and David Bowen, who were travelling as Third Class passengers, could have been allowed special access to use the facilities in the First Class gymnasium. That is what is claimed in David Bowen's bio on Wikipedia, the information coming from recently retired Events & Exhibitions Officer at the Swansea Museum, Roger Gale.

Over more than 2 weeks I have got in touch with several Welsh news outlets, Welsh Boxing sites and Boxing writers. They were all helpful and co-operative since the fate of poor Williams and Bowen is well remembered in Welsh boxing circles even after over 100 years. I finally got a detailed response from Gareth Jones, a well known Sports and Boxing writer for South Wales Echo. While he was unable to provide absolute concrete evidence (that would satisfy my good friend Seumas ;) ), he did believe that it was a strong probability that such an arrangement was made. Following is the gist of the story of how Bowen and Williams ended-up on the Titanic.

First of all, that was the time when thousands of Welsh coal miners had emigrated to America to work in the coal mines around Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania. As there was also a "boxing interest" in many of those young men, several local promoters acted as talent scouts to pick out likely candidates. One such man was Frank Torreyson, a well known Boxing promoter from Pittsburgh who developed a special interest in incoming Welsh talent. To that end he liaised with Charles "Chas" Barnett, a staff writer for Western Mail, boxing writer for Welsh Boxing News and himself a part-time boxing referee.

Sometime in the latter half of 1911, Torreyson wrote to Charlie Barnett asking him to provide a couple of good young Welsh boxers to put up a show throughout Pennsylvania. Barnett responded by nominating Leslie Williams and Jimmy Wilde, the latter then a little known young miner from Rhondda, Wales. Torreyson accepted Williams but felt that Wilde was too small and asked for a replacement. That was where David 'Dai' Bowen came in and as we all know now, it was he who sailed with Williams on that tragic journey.

Gareth Jones felt that all the travel arrangements were made by Charlie Barnett himself and the boxers' trainer George Cundick had little, if anything to do with them. They were originally booked to travel the previous week on board the Lusitania (and not the Baltic or any other ship, as claimed by some sources) but this had to be cancelled due to Leslie Williams' new and expensive suit not being ready on time. So, they were transferred to the Titanic's maiden voyage; the bookings were done through Dean & Dawson of Cardiff and Gareth Jones confirmed that each Third Class ticket const £16 and 2 shillings (around $75 each), certainly a very high fare for steerage. Moreover, various types of special arrangements for a price were known to be made in those days and so while Jones was unable to provide concrete evidence, he very strongly felt that the gym access story was true. It would have been at pre-arranged fixed times, presumably to minimize the 'dreaded' class mixing of those days.

Ironically, Jimmy Wilde, the Welsh boxer who Torreyson thought was not well known enough in 1911, lived to tell the tale because he did not accompany Williams on the Titanic. (It still would have been the Titanic because it was Leslie Williams' suit that was delayed and caused the change of travel plans). But Wilde did go across to the US a few years later, was a huge and very popular success, and went on to become the Flyweight Boxing Champion of the world. He is regarded in some circles as the greatest British boxer of all time.

PS: While David Bowen's body was never found, Leslie Williams' was. But its condition necessitated a sea burial, something that reportedly upset his family a lot. However, his personal effects were carefully returned and among them was a snake ring given to Williams.........by Jimmy Wilde.
Good post. Thanks for the info. It's not inconceivable to me that a special arrangement was made for them during that time. During the first part of the 20th century professional boxing was exploding as a sport and a business. Prior to Titanic in 1910 was "The fight of century" with the legendary boxer Jack Johnson. Boxing in the U.S. and England was becoming a big deal during that time covering both sides of the sport (the good and the bad). My question is who would have approved the arrangement for them to use the gym? Maybe they were a boxing fan. Cheers.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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My question is who would have approved the arrangement for them to use the gym?
I have asked that question and there are people looking into it. It would have to be someone high up in White Star to approve such an arrangement, and IMO Ismay would have known about it. My guess is that they were allowed at a fixed time, most likely early in the morning when the majority of First Class passengers would have been still in bed.
 

Seumas

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Good post. Thanks for the info. It's not inconceivable to me that a special arrangement was made for them during that time. During the first part of the 20th century professional boxing was exploding as a sport and a business. Prior to Titanic in 1910 was "The fight of century" with the legendary boxer Jack Johnson. Boxing in the U.S. and England was becoming a big deal during that time covering both sides of the sport (the good and the bad). My question is who would have approved the arrangement for them to use the gym? Maybe they were a boxing fan. Cheers.
Just a wee something if I may Steven ;)

You say "England".

Leslie Williams and David Bowen were Welshmen not Englishmen.

Wales is a ancient nation in it's own right and not a part of England. There is a chance that Williams and Bowen may also have been speakers of Cymraeg, which is one of Europe's most oldest and most beautiful languages.

Erik Larson's book on the Lusitania drove me nuts when he kept referring to the coasts of Wales and Scotland as "the west coast of England" and "the north coast of England".

It just bugs us a bit that's all :cool:

Update: This is a follow-up to my further research into whether there was any possibility that Welsh boxers and Titanic victims Leslie Williams and David Bowen, who were travelling as Third Class passengers, could have been allowed special access to use the facilities in the First Class gymnasium. That is what is claimed in David Bowen's bio on Wikipedia, the information coming from recently retired Events & Exhibitions Officer at the Swansea Museum, Roger Gale.

Over more than 2 weeks I have got in touch with several Welsh news outlets, Welsh Boxing sites and Boxing writers. They were all helpful and co-operative since the fate of poor Williams and Bowen is well remembered in Welsh boxing circles even after over 100 years. I finally got a detailed response from Gareth Jones, a well known Sports and Boxing writer for South Wales Echo. While he was unable to provide absolute concrete evidence (that would satisfy my good friend Seumas ;) ), he did believe that it was a strong probability that such an arrangement was made. Following is the gist of the story of how Bowen and Williams ended-up on the Titanic.

First of all, that was the time when thousands of Welsh coal miners had emigrated to America to work in the coal mines around Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania. As there was also a "boxing interest" in many of those young men, several local promoters acted as talent scouts to pick out likely candidates. One such man was Frank Torreyson, a well known Boxing promoter from Pittsburgh who developed a special interest in incoming Welsh talent. To that end he liaised with Charles "Chas" Barnett, a staff writer for Western Mail, boxing writer for Welsh Boxing News and himself a part-time boxing referee.

Sometime in the latter half of 1911, Torreyson wrote to Charlie Barnett asking him to provide a couple of good young Welsh boxers to put up a show throughout Pennsylvania. Barnett responded by nominating Leslie Williams and Jimmy Wilde, the latter then a little known young miner from Rhondda, Wales. Torreyson accepted Williams but felt that Wilde was too small and asked for a replacement. That was where David 'Dai' Bowen came in and as we all know now, it was he who sailed with Williams on that tragic journey.

Gareth Jones felt that all the travel arrangements were made by Charlie Barnett himself and the boxers' trainer George Cundick had little, if anything to do with them. They were originally booked to travel the previous week on board the Lusitania (and not the Baltic or any other ship, as claimed by some sources) but this had to be cancelled due to Leslie Williams' new and expensive suit not being ready on time. So, they were transferred to the Titanic's maiden voyage; the bookings were done through Dean & Dawson of Cardiff and Gareth Jones confirmed that each Third Class ticket const £16 and 2 shillings (around $75 each), certainly a very high fare for steerage. Moreover, various types of special arrangements for a price were known to be made in those days and so while Jones was unable to provide concrete evidence, he very strongly felt that the gym access story was true. It would have been at pre-arranged fixed times, presumably to minimize the 'dreaded' class mixing of those days.

Ironically, Jimmy Wilde, the Welsh boxer who Torreyson thought was not well known enough in 1911, lived to tell the tale because he did not accompany Williams on the Titanic. (It still would have been the Titanic because it was Leslie Williams' suit that was delayed and caused the change of travel plans). But Wilde did go across to the US a few years later, was a huge and very popular success, and went on to become the Flyweight Boxing Champion of the world. He is regarded in some circles as the greatest British boxer of all time.

PS: While David Bowen's body was never found, Leslie Williams' was. But its condition necessitated a sea burial, something that reportedly upset his family a lot. However, his personal effects were carefully returned and among them was a snake ring given to Williams.........by Jimmy Wilde.
Well done for following this up Arun, it does you credit.

This fascinating extra background information bring these two men alive again and should most definitely be added to the respective ET biographies of Williams and Bowen.

I'm still not convinced by that our two Welsh pugilists ever set foot in the first class gymnasium.

Mr Jones' argument that the lads must have used the gym because of their occupation is pretty much the same rather poor argument - "but there must have been ..." - that Julian Fellowes used when he defended the ballroom dancing scenes in first class featured in his appalling miniseries.

Those US immigration laws were really strict, it's really hard to see WSL making an exception for just two men. Even if they got up early and used it for an hour there is still a decent chance that of someone also wanting to use the gym early and making a complaint.

I'm not buying it.

If there is no source then it simply cannot go down as fact. Sorry chaps but that's the way I see it. There needs to be much, much better proof than Mr Jones' assumptions.
 
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Ok thanks for the info. I had asked about that before but nobody responded. How things worked there and what was with the different names and what they meant. Britain, Great Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, midlands..ect ect. I've heard people say "We of the North"and so on. Does the north end at the Scottish border? It's confusing to an outsider. I've read a lot of the history including Scotland but not much really past the Jacobite rebellion times. And a little of the more recent because of the secessionist movement there that keeps popping up in the news.
As to other thing. I can't say one way or the other if they were allowed to use the gym in first class. Haven't seen any definant proof. But I know theres an exception to every rule as they say and rules are made to be broken. In my profession if you followed every rule then there would be no electricity. Nothing would have never gotten fixed. Cheers.
 

Seumas

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Ok thanks for the info. I had asked about that before but nobody responded. How things worked there and what was with the different names and what they meant. Britain, Great Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, midlands..ect ect. I've heard people say "We of the North"and so on. Does the north end at the Scottish border? It's confusing to an outsider. I've read a lot of the history including Scotland but not much really past the Jacobite rebellion times. And a little of the more recent because of the secessionist movement there that keeps popping up in the news.
As to other thing. I can't say one way or the other if they were allowed to use the gym in first class. Haven't seen any definant proof. But I know theres an exception to every rule as they say and rules are made to be broken. In my profession if you followed every rule then there would be no electricity. Nothing would have never gotten fixed. Cheers.
Don't worry, it just seems simple to us over here because we grew up with it. It's perfectly OK to get confused.

If we involve Ireland too it gets more complex because of the obvious traumatic historical and religious issues in Ireland that can become the subject of heated and usually rather unconstructive debates.

You asked for "the North". The north of England (the counties that constitute which are more a matter of opinion) certainly does end at the border with the south of Scotland.

Charles Lightoller, Arthur Rostron, Stanley Lord, Joseph Boxhall and James Moody were all from the north of England. Today they might be called "Northerners".

Harold Lowe is a bit of an anomaly. He was born and brought up in north Wales but according to Inger Shiel (and she knows everything there is to know about HGL), Harold Lowe's parents were English and he always identified as English rather than Welsh.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I'm still not convinced by that our two Welsh pugilists ever set foot in the first class gymnasium.
I'm not buying it.

If there is no source then it simply cannot go down as fact. Sorry chaps but that's the way I see it. There needs to be much, much better proof than Mr Jones' assumptions.
I did think that the information I managed to get so far may not convince you and perhaps some others. Fair enough. I cannot say that I am 100% convinced myself, but at this stage am willing to accept it as a possibility. I have contacted other sources and if there is any further information that can throw some light on this, I'll post it here.

One related question, though. As we are all aware, 'Baron' Alfred Nourney was originally booked a cabin in Second Class, was dissatisfied with it and upgraded himself to First Class, presumably by paying extra on-board. Theoretically, if a Third Class passenger who had a sudden windfall a couple of days before they boarded asked to do the same after boarding ship, would they have been refused?

One unrelated point based on the exchange between Seumas and Steven above. This thing about Scots, Welsh, Irish etc being proud of their nationality and despite being part of GB do not like being pooled with the English. I my 35 years in the UK, I have seen a lot of that, albeit mostly in a lighthearted manner. More than anything else, it reminded me of something that is prevalent to this day - a non-English British person like a Welshman or a Scotswoman will be more aware of other non-English Brits in a predominantly English crowd, even though they may not actually interact with each other. I have noticed this with myself - an Indo-Brit - being more aware of fellow Asian-Brits during conferences etc. I suppose it is human nature.

The reason that I mentioned the above is related to my extensive attempts at getting information about Titanic survivor scullion John Collins all those years ago. Collins was an Irishman and according to my sources that included his daughter Mary McKee, was very aware of First Officer Murdoch, a Scotsman; but AFAIK, the two men did not actually 'know' each other in the conventional sense. Mrs McKee was not very interested in the Titanic herself but her older brother was and the one thing that (she told me) that she'd heard repeatedly was that Collins saw Murdoch knocked overboard when the wave hit the people around Collapsible A. Collins was trying to reach it at the time with a child in his arms but did not make it; he was eventually pulled on board the overturned Collapsible B.

Getting back to "Class Mixing", I do not disbelieve Hilda Hellstrom's story about sneaking into an obscure corner of a First Class area to listen to music. While class divisions were enforced on board, the Titanic was not a prison or even an official building. Not all barriers between classes were locked and those who 'manned' those barriers usually had other duties as well. Therefore, if Hilda was reasonably well dressed, knew her way about and had behaved naturally, she just might have been able to sneak unnoticed into a First Class corner for a few minutes.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Harold Lowe is a bit of an anomaly. He was born and brought up in north Wales but according to Inger Shiel (and she knows everything there is to know about HGL), Harold Lowe's parents were English and he always identified as English rather than Welsh.

Perhaps unusual in North Wales, but not too long ago there was a "Little England" in the Tenby-Saundersfoot area of Southern Wales. Several English people, mostly retired, have bought small seaside villas there.
 
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