Questions about the Titanic


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Megan Hogate

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Hello, I am writing a story about the titanic and had a few questions.


1) What would a 16 year old First Class girl who was traveling by herself do on the Titanic?

2)What would she eat? Would she be assigned to a table or just sit any where?

3) What did the Parlor Rooms look like? How large were they?

4) Were there things that were geared for the teenagers to do?

5) What was the schedual like for a first class passenger?

Thank You for helping me out. I have to have the final story done by this Saturday. Please chime in if you can answer any of the questions.
Thank you!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Hallo, Megan. One thing to keep in mind is that there were no 'teenagers' in 1912. Once past the age of 11 you were no longer a child, though the age range 12-15 could be regarded as an extension of childhood, a period of life in which 'young persons' were still vulnerable and in need of protection. That came to an end on your 16th birthday. In the eyes of the law and of society your 16 year old was an adult and would have behaved as such and been proud to do so. There were no special provisions, either shipboard or in general life, for those who had reached their teen years. They weren't yet regarded as a viable market, so there were no special fashions, no special music, no special activities geared to their preferences. Just the standard options available to the adult population.
 
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A 16 year old girl (or young woman) of means - first class was not cheap - was a 'debutante'. Her parents would have 'brought her out' into adult society by holding a ball in her honour, and she probably would have attended other adult parties, especially the coming out parties of her girlfriends, danced with males her age and older, drank alcoholic beverages, enjoyed herself as much as etiquette allowed her.
She would not have been as independent as a 16 year old male. Men considered women were without logic, and should not be exposed to the rough world on her own. That's why 'women and children first'. That's why Clinch Smith and two other men acted protective toward Mrs. Cardenza, an older widow travelling by herself. (All right, she was rich and attractive too.) Neither your heroine nor her mother, nor her grandmother, were allowed to vote in 1912.
Her parents or guardian may have requested an older friend also travelling on the Titanic to look out for her. (I would say 'supervise and protect' her. That would cause conflict if your heroine is an independent character; but conflict is good for a story. American girls were considered by Europeans to have more independent attitudes and ways than English girls. She may get snubbed by the grande dames for that - 'Where did she learn her manners, in her father's factory? Who was her family anyway?' or get unwanted attention from men who mixed up free speech and spirit with sexually 'easy'.)
How is your library? Does it have "Titanic, an Illustrated History"? I find the pictures in that book muse stirring.
 

Bob Godfrey

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The age at which a young lady 'came out' was generally 18 in Britain and the US. Maybe 17 if her 18th birthday came soon after the 'season'. A 16 year old would have been considered a young adult but 'unfinished' and not quite ready to join the parade.
 
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If Megan's heroine is not old enough to put up her hair and come out, would she be permitted to cross the ocean by herself? If she is permitted, I think that's unusual and the reason should be part of the story.

Clothing just occurred to me. Did the hobbleskirt fashion die out before 1912? There was a picture of a woman riding a stationary bicycle in the Titanic's gym in my illustrated edition of "A Night to Remember". She had a wide skirt. Books in Dewey 391.009 should have pictures of clothing and hair styles. Women still wore their hair long and up, and even street dresses had hooks, eyes, buttons and possibly zippers in awkward places to reach. She'll probably need a friend, maid or stewardess to help her dress.

Does your library have "Last Dinner on the Titanic" by Rick Archbold?

The Titanic had a writing room, a library, a gymnasium, a Turkish Bath (sauna?), a swimming pool, a squash court, deck chairs, a cafe (2 cafes?) and a 'promenade deck'. I'm book orientated, so I'd search the library around the 910's for 'Titanic' books. There's probably other pictures and text on the 'Net.
 

Megan Hogate

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Thank you all for all the information! I had forgotten that "teenagers" are a relatively new idea. I am going to put her as 18 in the story as to make it a little more believable. She is from England but her parents had moved the family to America 10 years former and she had been in England for the past year and a half taking care of her grandmother. He father was very wealthy. What could his occupation been? I don't really know much about occupations in England. Just American ones!
Would a man on the Titanic felt that she needed someone to protect her if she was traveling all alone? Or would the men not really care and leave her to herself for the most part?
What would some of the clothing on the titanic look like? I have found a few pictures but not many where you can see the whole gown or suit.
Thanks again for answering my questions. I want the story to be as accurate as it can be.

Thank you,
Megan
 

Bob Godfrey

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Marilyn, as you've suggested the likelihood is that a young woman (of whatever Class) not accompanied by close family would be travelling under the eye of a chaperone - an older relative, perhaps, or a family friend (generally female). If 1st Class, she might be travelling with a maid or a governess.

Megan, very wealthy people in Edwardian England were generally born into money and didn't need to work at all! A rich man's 'occupation' would be that of 'gentleman'. Marilyn has surely already answered your question about men offering their protection to ladies travelling alone.
 

Megan Hogate

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So her father wouldn't have to do anything to be wealthy...that must be really nice! I should add a governess or a maid then? Or just keep her as an independent girl? I have never written a paper that was a story like this.
happy.gif
Its pretty awesome all the things that is left unknown about the Titanic. Thanks for all the help!
Megan
 

Bob Godfrey

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Your character would certainly find it easier to be independent if travelling with a maid rather than a mother!

For Titanic menus, photos of staterooms, Edwardian fashions etc just use Google (switched to search for images). You'll easily find more than enough to meet your needs.
 

Megan Hogate

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Thank you for the link! I found a boatload of things that I didn't know. Now I have a few more questions...

In the Gymnasium I know that they had a rowing machine, a mechanical horse and camel, and stationary bikes. I was wondering what else they had put in there... Was the swimming pool in that room or did it have its own? I have heard conflicting things on that.

Did they have dances every night? or just a few of them?

Any information that you can give me would be awesome! I have learned SO MUCH already since posting that I feel bad bothering you guys with more questions. Thank You so much for all the fasinating information.

God Bless,

~Megan
 

Ben Lemmon

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Megan,
It's nice to see that there are aspiring authors that continue to join the board. You'll find there is a wealth of information on anything concerning Titanic and people who are more than willing to answer. Believe me, I've experienced it myself.

Regarding your question about what was in the Gymnasium, Titanic: the Ship Magnificent lists the machines in the room on page 205 of Volume II. It shows the location of various machines listing them underneath. The Gymnasium included:
1 - two rowing machines facing each other
2 - bicycle-racing machine
3 - Weight-lifting machine
4 - trunk-rotating machine (electric camel)
5 - height-measuring machine
6 - back-massage machine
7 - stomach-massage machine
8 - horse-riding machines
9 - punch ball

Also, the swimming pool was not next to the Gymnasium at all. The Gymnasium was located on the Boat Deck, right next to the First Class entrance and the First Class Promenade. The swimming pool, or "swimming bath," as it was known, was located on the F Deck, right next to the Turkish Bath (another First Class luxury). For your own detailed plans of the ship, you can go here to view them.

There is a thread here on the board that might be able to answer your questions about leisure time. It details that limited dancing was possible in both First and Second Class during evening concerts, but the usual custom was to sit and listen to the music. Hope this helps, and have fun writing.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Megan, I still have a problem with your wealthy young debutante being without a chaperone in 1912. I cannot under any circumstances envision any credibility to this happening in real life back then. It just wasn't proper. Even a maid accompanying her would not have been a choice of chaperone, because a maid is a servant and did not have the privilege of dictating to her mistress what she should do or where she should go. The chaperone should either be a family friend or relative, such as an aunt or matronly cousin, former governess, etc. This of course will add color and dimension to the story as you will need someone for your character to "butt heads" with in her effort to show independence.
 

Kyrila Scully

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If I didn't have to rush off to work, I could provide you with the First Class Passenger "schedule" and other background information. I'll try to get to it this weekend for you.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Very quickly, I will provide that your character would have received (upon boarding) a list of First Class Passengers (which also includes information about landing arrangements, steamer rugs and chairs) and a booklet entitled NOTES FOR FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS containing trivia about White Star Line ships, passenger routes, and basic information about when meals are served, where to find the Marconi Room, and other amenities aboard ship.

Since Titanic was traveling Eastward, breakfast was served 8:30 to 10:00 am, luncheon from 1 pm and dinner from 7 pm. "Seats at table are allotted on application to the Second Steward shortly after sailing, and a Seating Plan is exhibited as soon as completed in the after companionway." Bugle calls were sounded for luncheon and dinner. At dinner, a dress call is sounded half an hour before the call for dinner.

Special dinners could be served up to 8:15 pm but only if requested by 1:30 pm with the Second Steward. Passengers were required to sign cards for wine and other alcoholic beverages at table and accounts would be settled at voyage's end.

Information was also provided regarding the use of the Lounge, Smoking Room, Turkish and Electric Baths, Gymnasium, Bed Warmers, Barber Shop, Medical Facilities, Music, Baggage Master, Deck Games and Amusements, Landings, Purser's Office, Foreign Money Exchange, Travellers' Cheques, Gratuities, etc.

Some of the music played aboard by the ship's musicians included classic pieces by Strauss, Verdi, and Puccini, as well as popular music such as "Swing Song". Mostly played were Overtures and Waltzes, Suites and Fantasias, selections from "modern" composers such as "Pirates of Penzance" and "The Mikado" by Gilbert and Sullivan, "The Gay Musician" by Julian Edward and "The Three Twins" by Karl Hoschna. 148 songs are listed in the WSL musicians' repertoire. I can provide you with additional information about the music if required.
 

Megan Hogate

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May 18, 2009
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Thank You all for all the help! I am shocked with all the information that I have learned over the past week.
I have finished the story! It turned out to be longer than I had anticipated.
I will probably write another one that is more accurate this summer if I can find the time. This is a school paper that was more a fictional story so it didn't have to be perfectly accurate.
Thank you again!
Megan
 

Kyrila Scully

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Yes, Jason, you're right--I was in a hurry trying to post and then get out the door to work. Thanks for catching the mistake. Naturally, I also posted the wrong times as a result.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Chad, how do you feel about me now that Jason caught me in a mistake? LOL Seriously, anyone can dig up that information. I just happen to have my collection handy in the next room. THS sells reproductions of each of the booklets I quoted from. I think it's a boxed set that looks like a blue steamer trunk.
 
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