Passenger Education

Dec 29, 2006
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Hello Sashka

You have raised some complex issues in this thread, some of which have already been touched upon. Yes, there would have been friendly rivalry between people from different schools and colleges. For example, Lawrence Beesley mentions in his book that he was from Cambridge University, whereas the Rev Carter was from Oxford University, and they appear to have compared the merits of their respective educational institutions. Many of the second class passengers had very good educations — much better, in fact, that some of the first class travellers. This underlines the fact that the second class passengers tended to be professional people such as doctors, engineers and teachers, whereas the first class passengers were just obscenely rich. (Having said that, J.Bruce Ismay went to Harrow School while Duff Gordon was an old Etonian).

When we read that some of the third class travellers “could not read English”￾ I assume that this was simply because they were foreigners (by which I mean non English speakers). If you look at some of the letters written by third class survivors the standard of English is good, For example, Amy Stanley would have attended a Church of England village school, but the letter to her parents in Oxfordshire (published in this site) is surprisingly well written.

Passengers who had obtained a good education in a prestigious school would, in effect, have become middle class, even if their parents had been dirt poor. Education was much prized in 1912, as it was seen as the key to success. Indeed, education could, in those days, turn poor boys into gentlemen — the attainment of the degree of Master of Arts, or ordination in the Anglican Church, or possession of commissioned rank in the armed forces being seen as sure routes to gentry status. If you know anything about the Bronte sisters you will know that their father had been the son of an Irish linen weaver from County Down, but, having been ordained, he regarded himself as a gentleman and would not let his children play with the rough children of the village! On this basis it would be quite difficult to produce a ranking of passengers because people like Lawrence Beesley and the Rev Carter would have been regarded as gentry because of their education and qualifications.
 
Mar 20, 2007
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'Many of the second class passengers had very good educations — much better, in fact, that some of the first class travellers. This underlines the fact that the second class passengers tended to be professional people such as doctors, engineers and teachers, whereas the first class passengers were just obscenely rich.'

Yet it would be a mistake to assume that the upper classes were at all ignorant or empty-headed. Most members of 'Society' were not required to take paid employment but some were quite terrifyingly bright - both by our standards and theirs.

It has always been possible to find a fairly large contingent of philistines within the English aristocracy but there were also men and women of considerable ability who did much to support the arts and sciences. I'd refer you to one of the early chapters of Tuchman's 'Proud Tower' - I need to check the exact reference but recall that she provides details on the academic pursuits of one high-ranking toff which make for mind-boggling reading. Balfour, Cust, Curzon and Raymond Asquith all possessed dazzling brains. By the same token, women like Gladys de Grey did much to support and promote the Russian Ballet in London before the Great War. Nor was the American 'Four Hundred' the intellectual wasteland we might assume - again, I need to check my facts but I know that there is considerable evidence to support the argument that American Society also contained some very fine and able minds.

I can't help feeling that it was precisely BECAUSE these men and women didn't have to work that a rather special outlook on life prevailed. Conversation, for example, would have taken place at a very high level - not perhaps a strictly 'academic' skill but certainly an art which has fallen by the wayside today. It is true (as one biographer has neatly put it) that Society had servants and no television, which helped to promote a more leisured atmosphere, but I can't help feeling that most of us on this board would feel rather out of our depth, if we chanced to find ourselves sitting next to Frank Millet or William T. Stead at dinner.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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On the Titanic the 2nd Class dining room was a likely venue for conversations involving passengers from very different backgrounds. A well-educated professional man like Lawrence Beesley, for instance, could have found himself breaking bread with the Beanes - he a bricklayer and she a barmaid. It seems that the Beanes (despite the distractions of their honeymoon) did become sufficiently well acquainted with their middle class traveling companions to have obtained the home addresses of several of them.

On a rather different note, back in 1912 my great grandfather was a London cabbie. He generally stopped for a late-night mug of tea and a 'wad' at one or another of the drivers' refreshment rooms attached to cab stands in the West End. On most nights a few 'gentlemen' in evening dress could be seen also enjoying late refreshment while deep in conversation with groups of cabbies and seeking their opinions on anything from the latest entertainments to the public reaction to Government policies. It was well known that the cab drivers were the best-informed men in London!
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Ben Lemmon

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Oct 9, 2009
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If nobody minds, I would like to restart this thread, but take it in bit of a different direction. Did those in 2[sup]nd[/sup] class and 1[sup]st[/sup] class undergo apprenticeships? I know that some of the 1[sup]st[/sup] class people inherited their wealth from their parents, but what about the others, if there were any? I would appreciate *any* answer that anyone can give. I look forward to the answers.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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In Edwardian society there was no shortage of wealthy men like Sir Henry Royce who had 'risen from the ranks' of the working classes and become successful through trade. But even if you were 'born into money' you couldn't expect to inherit a family business and to run it successfully without having a full understanding of the nature of that business. That's why Thomas Andrews, for instance, served a full engineering apprenticeship at Harland & Wolff though he was destined for a management role. Even Bruce Ismay began his career as an apprentice in his father's business. Keep in mind also that all of the Titanic's officers and engineers, many of whom came from middle class backgrounds, had served a gruelling apprenticeship.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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I think it is important to differentiate between ordinary apprenticeships and the concept of “premium apprenticeships”￾, whereby wealthy parents would, in effect, pay companies to give their sons a first-rate technical education. Thomas Andrews had been trained as a premium apprentice which, in his case, must have been regarded as a “fast track”￾ route into higher management.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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And, for a look at the next step of the educational evolutionary process, check out the recently discovered "lost" film Manhattan School For Girls (1911).

The film is an advertising documentary- a very early one- for the titular school. Founded a few years prior, to give girls a legal way to break out of the poverty cycle, M.S.f.G. was a vocational school that not only taught girls marketable job skills, but also offered job placement upon graduation.

The film shows girls, with various
"typical" ethnic names for 1911 (Sadie-Rose-Mary...etc) as they pass through the school training system, and then follows up six months later. One of them, Rose I believe, landed a job in the clothing design industry that paid $22 per week, and the rest were making, on the average, twice what they would have with no diploma.

What is interesting, but sad,is that the film dates from the same year as the Triangle Fire. Preserved records highlight, unintentionally, the value of a vocational diploma, through the pay amounts linked to each of the victims in the claims files. Wages for unskilled were as low as $2 per week, while one girl in the same design job as "Rose" from the film was making a weekly salary of $25. Fare to the Triangle was .05 each way, lunch was another .05 and rent was $5-$10 per week. Which is partly why M.S.f.G. was such a huge success~ it was realised, very early, that vocationally educated children could single handedly pull a family out of the poor class. So, in that regard, the claims of the film are proveably true.

Just another facet of Edwardian education to ponder.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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I have been looking through some engineering-related sources in connection with the premium apprentice system, whereby well-off parents were able to ensure that their sons received a sound engineering education at a time in which most British universities had an anti-scientific (or at least anti-technological) bias. The London & North Western Railway Society explains the scheme as follows:

“Premium Apprentices paid about £200 to the company in return for a five-year apprenticeship, during which they were paid normal trade apprentice rates. They were not guaranteed a job at the end of their term, though many Crewe Premium Apprentices went on to head most of Britain’s railways at one time or another, and other important industrial concerns. About thirty new Premiums were admitted each year, so it was a select club, indeed the ‘Past and Present Crewe Association’ still meets to this day. Some of the better-known Crewe apprentices include Worsdell, Aspinall, Ivatt, Hoy, Hughes, Gresley and Rolls.”￾

It should perhaps be mentioned that, in 1912, the London & North Western was one of the largest joint stock companies in the world, its locomotive works at Crewe being a centre of excellence in the engineering world.
 
A

Alyson Jones

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I'm going back a bit when we are talking about how rich children & middle class children get ahead and poor children stay poor in England.
My dad from England, so i ask him why England is doing so poorly these days in sports-Exsample If two boys are going for a spot in an English cricket team and one boy was so brilliant at cricket like he was an all rounder but he came from a very poor family and the other boy was just an average not that good at cricket but he came from a very well to do family.
The boy that did poorly that came from a well to do family all ways got choosen over the poor boy that did really well,this happend all the time in England,no wounder poor kids never got ahead and rich middle class kids always got ahead.
No wounder why most English families choose to immergrate to America and Australia ,there trying to give there poor kids a better furture and a chance to make a life for them selfs.

I'm not dissing England at all,just stating what my father said why England do so badly now.
I wish i was born and raise in England,then i feel more apart of Titanic.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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The days when teams of English aristocrats represented their country in sporting events are long gone. These days you won't find many of the landed gentry in the English football squad, for instance! We try to win with the best contenders, whatever their backgrounds. If our best isn't good enough, particularly in amateur sporting events like the Olympics, this is partly because the British Government has never been willing to invest much in their training, unlike some other nations which think they gain a political advantage in coming first. Also of course we're a quite small country, so the selectors don't have an enormous range of choice. It's the nations with very large populations that generally walk away with the best crop of medals.

You seem to be suggesting that most English families have emigrated. A significant number did and maybe a lot more considered it, but the great majority stayed at home.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Hi Bob,I was talking about the Edwardian days in England at this time 1850-1900's not about the modern days.True about England being small and counties with bigger population win more medels i believe you!
But when it came to selections in the Edwardians days the selectors choose rich kids over poor kids back then, but England has changed now.
I know what country you are taiking about that wants to come first all the time USA!lol
I'm sorry Bob if i hurt you're feelings,i meant to say some familes.
I was not dissing England ,England is my 2nd fav Country after Australia,i was just responing to the posts only.I do have problems in word things the right way.

Regards
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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No hurt feelings, Alyson, just friendly debate. You did ask "why England is doing so poorly these days in sports" - "these days" means now, not in 1912, and that's why I answered as I did. The Edwardian period, by the way, started in 1901 with the Coronation of King Edward VII and ended with his death in 1910. If you're interested also in the years 1850-1900 that was the Victorian period which preceded it.

Even in the Edwardian period the top players who represented England in many of our sports (especially football and cricket) were professionals from humble backgrounds. In cricket there were 'gentlemen and players'. The 'players' were the pros who represented us in Test matches. The 'gentlemen' were the traditional amateurs and generally of a lower standard - with the notable exception of the famous W G Grace.

The nation I had most in mind when I mentioned a political incentive to come top in sports was the old Soviet Union.
 
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Alyson Jones

Guest
Yeah, i did ask did'nt i. lol opps!
Gentlemen and the Players, i did not know that kind of information,but i do now.I'm interested in 1850-1912 and 1939-1945.
I guess that the old soviet union is the usa back in those days lol