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Shipboard etiquette around 1912

Discussion in 'Social Graces Custom & Etiquette' started by Arun Vajpey, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    Reading about the movements and actions of people after the collision....to some extent even before - often made me wonder if they behaved rather differently during a long voyage such as a transatlantic crossing ie sort of let their hair down a bit.

    I was always under the impression that many people of that era - middle class and above - did not easily mix and talk to strangers, let alone socialise with them while leading a 'normal life' on land. Yet, on board the Titanic you read about 'shipboard companions' of the opposite sex, even though they had not met before. I realise it probably only meant sharing the same dinner table but the overall impression I got was that people tended to be less conservative and shed some of their social inhibitions while at sea.

    Is that a fact or am I reading too much between the lines?
    SmileyGirl likes this.
  2. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    There might have been a friendly social feeling in Second class and Third class. Survivor Edith Rosenbaum talked about the cold formality of First class on the Titanic.

    Skip to 0:40

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  3. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    Yes, of course. But I am asking more about etiquette than friendliness. To put it in another way, several people, including many women, just put on a dressing gown on top of their nightclothes and went out to investigate what the disturbance was about after the Titanic had struck the iceberg even when most did not think it was anything to be worried about. Maybe in 1912 that sort of thing would have been unlikely if there was some sort of disturbance in a posh hotel on land for example; people might have stopped to dress properly first etc. Also, I am guessing that women would have hesitated to go exploring by themselves in land-based situations like they did on board the Titanic.

    The 'stiffness' mentioned in that video might have something to do with class divisions of the time. But what about while dealing with people of one's own perceived class?

    Maybe that's not the best example but what I am asking is, did shipboard atmosphere during long voyages create its own microcosm so that people dropped some degree of formality?
    SmileyGirl likes this.
  4. SmileyGirl

    SmileyGirl Guest

    I’ve always thought it was strange that some women went to the boat deck with just coats on over their nightwear. I would have expected a bit more ‘proper etiquette’. They did not know it was an emergency after all!
    Arun Vajpey likes this.