Thought you would find that last link- illuminating. Florence Nightingale wrote a paper on conditions in rural America- mid-19th century which I find fascinating- I can also recommend the link at the top of that page too=both are Fordham University connections. Florence Nightingale:Rural Hygiene
The Victorian Web is an excellent resource for the era up to 1901 and has several articles on the primitive state of the sewage system in the UK. If this link does not work, just type Victorian Web into the search box on your Internet service. I wonder if Titanic's drainpipes from their toilets did not go directly into the ocean?- Probably.
Dunno whether the Titanic facilities emptied directly into the Gulf Stream, but until quite recently British railway trains carried signs requesting that passengers 'do not use the toilet while the train is standing in the station'.
Nowadays, of course, we have discovered the importance of hygiene here in the UK and many of us take a bath on first sunday of the month whether we need it or not.
>>Dunno whether the Titanic facilities emptied directly into the Gulf Stream, <<
They did and ships today still do, but not close to shore like in ages past. When ships are close to a coastline, they have to use collection and holding tankage and wait until they're beyond a certain limit befor they can discharge the caca over the side.
Back in 1912, they weren't so concerned about it. Proof of that can be seen in some photos of the Titanic during fitting out. You'll notice theres a small temporary structure rigged on the starboard side on the forecastle with a long chute dangling over the side towards the water.
Two vessels operated by White Star from 1880, the Coptic and Arabic, perhaps offered the ultimate experience of waste disposal. They were designed to carry not only the usual complement of passengers but also large numbers of live cattle carried in the cargo holds.
Stockmen were employed to deal with the animals' needs and were occupied for much of the time in discharging bucketfulls of wastes over the sides.
These vessels carried steerage, second class and occasionally even first class passengers, and steerage was an especially appropriate term in this case as these unfortunates were housed directly above the cattle pens.
I pity the steerage, then! Ilya McVey told me of an experience he had as an engineer on a container ship which was carrying one container of cattle. As I recall, Ilya said the container in question was located near the ventilating system for the engine room, which caused him to become a vegetarian for the duration of the voyage. To make matters worse, instead of disposing of the waste the animals produced in the manner described above, the stock handlers washed it into the bilges... which clogged the pumps... which the engineers then had to go and clear by hand... ACK!
Now let us sing, to the tune of Dvorak's Humoresque--
Passengers will please refrain
From passing water while the train
Is standing in the station or the yards.
We encourage contemplation
While the train is in the station
Grit your teeth and cross your legs and smile.
More seriously, the ever watchful Board of Trade prescribed standards for bulkheads that separated steerage passengers from animals. I'll dig them up.
Also please do post the BoT regs if you got 'em. I understand that despite such controls the noise and smell were often almost unbearable and White Star received numerous and constant complaints from all classes of passengers.
Board of Trade regulations for emigrant ships laid down many standards in detail. Apparently the facilities on non-emigrant ships were left to the commercial sense of the owners. They are far too long to give in detail, but here are a few things.
Water closets were to be installed at the rate of 4 for every 100 passengers, up to 300 passengers and at 2 for each additional 100. They had to be designated male or female to suit the passengers actually carried. Urinals were to be provided for male passengers at 2 per 100 up to 300 and 1 for each additional 100. They were not to be fitted on the lowest decks. No berth could be next to these facilities unless separated by a gastight partition. Proper lighting and ventilation were required.
Animals were not to be carried below any accommodation deck, nor directly above accomodation. On iron or steel ships they could be carried on the same deck as passengers, provided they were separated by a bulkhead "proof against the passage of water or effluvium". (How's that for euphemism?)
Rules prevented passengers sharing their promenade space with cattle. No more than 10 cattle could be carried per 200 GRT.
It seems that the Board of Trade meant well, but the pong from cattle finds its way everywhere.
Oddly enough I received a catalog at work today with an antique metal sign advertising Thomas J. Crapper's invention. I think it was the Cash's catalog of Irish gift items. They do have a website at www.cashs.com if anyone is interested.
The last word on cattle: Chapter 13 of Patrick Stenson's book 'Titanic Voyager' describes Charles Lightoller's experience as third mate on the Knight Companion, "the rustiest, filthiest, most decrepit old tub he had ever seen", in a very heavy sea. The Knight carried grain in the holds and cattle on deck. But I give serious warning - readers who are sensitive to the plight of animals in transit would best give this chapter a miss.
I daresay this point has been made before somewhere out there, but students of etymology might like to know that the word crappe, meaning discarded or unwanted residue of many kinds, predates Thomas J by many centuries. Any connection between Mr Crapper's name and the nature of his business is purely coincidental but highly appropriate.
Hi Katie, I am doing a T.V. interview for a science show about the toilets on Titanic. I was looking at Thomas Andrews Olympic not book, and under accomadations there is WC and WCS, does that stand for toilets. Also does anyone know how many first class room actualy has toilets in room. Did all of second class have to share public bathrooms and how about third class. Would the Titanic have dump it's waste at all time, including when in port. Any help is appreciated.
WC stands for "water closet", which indeed meant toilet or "toilet room". WTC may mean Water Closet Stand which in effect is a cabinet like affair with wash basins which folded down when they were needed to be used. When one was done, one simply folded these portable sinks back up into the ordinary looking wooden cabinet. The water closet stand was only a sink or twin basins but the Water Closet itself was the room which would have had the stand and the actual toilet. Of course in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class there were chamber pots also in use which implies that either a person could not be bothered to get out of bed and go in search of a toilet, or, not all rooms, cabins, or berths had toilets (which we know to be true). These "porta potties", (chamber pots) would be placed outside the cabin door once used. A steward would collect these, and they would then be emptied and cleaned and put back in the rooms. Hope some of this helps you. Regards, Steve Santini
Rene, the general arrangement for all third class and second class passengers was the provision of toilet 'blocks' containing a row of cubicles, each containing a flush toilet, opposite (in the case of the men's toilets) a row of open urinals. Men and women had separate blocks, of course, but often located back to back to simplify the plumbing.
There were similar arrangements for the crew and for those first class passengers who were housed in single cabins rather than suites of rooms. Toilets for the crew and for the three classes of passengers were entirely separate. No first or second class cabin was far from a toilet block, but in some areas of third class accomodation you'd need to climb to another deck to find relief.
For information on waste disposal, see the posting by Michael Standart further up this page.
I might add that chamber pots had another use. The peaceful voyage of Titanic was not very typical of an Atlantic crossing, never mind the berg. On many crossings, the passengers spend a large proportion of their time bringing up all that they'd eaten in the last week. Talk about 'Heave together, me hearties!'
I'm a bit aghast at the idea of all these full chamber pots being put outside in the corridors awaiting collection - what when it was rough? In fact, I can't rid myself of some fairly awful practical visions not quite in keeping with the Ship of Dreams. If you want to know how ghastly shipboard life was for the Victorians, read Charles Dickens's account of his 3-week voyage to the USA some 60 years earlier (only like the 1940s to us). Still had to dress for dinner, though...