Shopping from tenders


Jun 4, 2003
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Hi all! Can one of you explain to me what exactly happened with the tenders in Ireland and some kind of shopping that took place then? I guess Astor bought some Irish lace but more info would be greatly appreciated! Did others shop as well and if yes what kind of products? Thank you!
 
Mar 28, 2002
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I'd also like to know if any of the vendors were allowed to actually board the Titanic or were transactions carried out from the tenders? If the latter is the case, surely only embarking passengers (113 third and 7 second class) would have the opportunity to purchase although I'm sure I read somewhere that first class passengers also took advantage of the local vendors to buy such things as Irish lace and linen.

Cheers,

Boz
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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The vendors were allowed to board the Titanic, but only those with a permit was allowed, so a lot of illegal trading took place on board the ship where traders without license would sneak on board, and if they were spotted, they would make a quick escape by sliding down the side of the ship they were on.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Permission to go aboard was traditionally obtained by a payment to the Chief Officer. It was an old custom that began when the traders supplied sailors with clothing and other things. The same thing went on in many ports, as it was a way of selling goods to sailors who were not allowed ashore.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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The Father Browne collection includes several interesting pictures of Queenstown traders. These images aren't part of his Titanic Album, but they do give a very good idea of the variety of methods employed. One pic shows a 'franchised' lace seller with her wares spread out on deckchairs on the covered promenade deck of a liner. Another is an 'authorised trader' with her basket of goods awaiting customers near a gangplank on the wharf. There's even a picture of 'illegal trade', showing a man climbing down a rope to a waiting row boat.

Sorry, George, I can't see what was in the basket!
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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"Permission to go aboard was traditionally obtained by a payment to the Chief Officer. It was an old custom that began when the traders supplied sailors with clothing and other things. The same thing went on in many ports, as it was a way of selling goods to sailors who were not allowed ashore."

Small vessels so trading were known as bumboats.

The term worked its way into the crew wages accounting documentation as the debit item "bumboat account" at whatever port. The crew member would sign for the value of goods purchased and the bumboatman would exchange the signed list for the value from the purser or master. The list would serve as the authorising voucher to debit each signatory's account of wages.

At some ports such as Las Palmas where a vessel would lie alongside for bunkering the traders would come aboard from the quay without the need for an actual boat but the term was still used to describe the transaction.

Noel
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Senan Molony accessed some of the meticulously itemised records from the Queenstown trader who sold lace goods aboard ships, including WSL vessels, when they called at the Irish port (unfortunately, no lace shawl to JJA appears among them). They cover a long period of time and give a useful idea of the types of items offered for sale. Can't remember if Sen wrote it up into an article for the WSJ or not - I'd have to check the back issues, or alternatively you could email him.

Earlier in his career when he was the Chief Officer of a tramp steamer, James Moody made a bit of cash on the side by charging a fee for the traders who wanted to come aboard during a longish stint in an Egyptian port.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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I've read about JJA buying a lace shawl, Inger, and paying a fantastic sum of money for it that would have meant instant retirement for the lucky seller, if it were true. Surely some mistake? I've also read about traders 'jumping' onto the Titanic, which could not be possible surely? If they came aboard, they must surely have done it with the connivance of crew?
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>I've also read about traders 'jumping' onto the Titanic, which could not be possible surely?<<

Definately the illegal traders.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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This "information" gleamed from a children's novel called 'Titanic Crossing' by Barbara Williams. Wrong or right I don't know but it may help.

Basically, the main character (a 13-year old boy) had upset his mother and wanted to buy something nice for her, i.e. an Irish lace tablecloth. He sent the bellboy to catch the vendors before they departed the Titanic via tenders at Queenstown while he begged his uncle for some money. The vendors were rushed into second class where the mother was indecisive about what she wanted at which point the vendors complained that they had to pay an officer by the minute and she was taking a long time to choose.

Incidentally, the same chapter mentions that JJ Astor bought an Irish lace bed-jacket for $800.

Now, I know this comes from a novel for children but I'm not making any assumptions either way!

Cheers,

Boz
 
Aug 15, 2005
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I had considered writing a passage about the port traders coming aboard but I wasn't sure there'd be any kind of demand for it. Maybe I shall write it afterall - but yer man's going to have to buy an item.

Opinions/suggestions?
 

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