Sneaking Into First Class From Second


May 3, 2005
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I was shocked too, to find out that anyone can explore first class before the voyage. Not sure about 3rd class passengers though?

Differently she was seeing her friend off Mr.Beesley. She left the ship; not as a passenger, but as a on looker. I recall reading article on here and on FB.
I don't know if customs or rules had or have been changed but years ago I had the opportunity of visiting. both RMS Queen Mary and SS France when they were in New York between sailings. Of course things might be different during an actual voyage and there were no rules to the contrary if just visiting, but visitors had free rein of the ships and you could explore just about any and all areas and all classes.......Which I did.

I remember there was at least one steward who seemed to be happy to give the visitors directions to places they wanted to visit on the Queen Mary.

I wanted to see a particular cabin and he gave me detailed instructions as to how to easily get to it.
But in the words of Paul Harvey "......and the rest of the story..." I am afraid it had the opposite result. My look at that cabin turned me off. Story about that was on another thread .LOL

I, too......." Left the ships ; not as a passenger, but as a on looker ."
 
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Aly Jones

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Since lower classed passengers were allowed to view and use first-class amenities before the voyage, why would any of the lower passengers bother sneaking onto the higher classes mid voyage?
 
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May 3, 2005
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I don't know how it was on the Queen Mary and France during my visit, but I got the impression that anyone would be allowed to visit all classes during the visitation hours open to the general public but once the paid passengers got aboard and the ship got underway there would be restrictions between classes ?
And you weren't allowed to use but just view those amenities during the visiting hours

And that "tourist class" cabin on the Queen Mary that I had the opportunity to inspect didn't seem much different from those pictures of Steerage class cabins on the Titanlc. I guess Third Class hadn't changed from 1912 to 1936, and hadn't changed during later years whether you called it Steerage, Third or Tourist :-(

Just another curious thing about those visitations.
On Queen Mary most of the cabins were unlocked and open for viewing but the spaces such as lounges and dining salons were closed to the public. They were roped off and you could just look into them.
It was just the opposite on France. All of the cabins were locked but the other spaces were open for visiting.
I remember the theater seemed to be a popular place for visitors to get together.

Why would any of the lower class passengers bother sneaking on to the higher classes during mid voyage ?
I dunno ? Ask Jack and Rose why ? ;-)
 
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I think it was highly unlikely anyone snuck between classes on Titanic.

My thoughts:

We've gotten this Downton Abbey glamour idea that it was some kind of wonderful fun to sneak between classes.

In real life, you would immediately spot someone from the wrong class. Their clothes, mannerisms, and language would set them obviously apart. It's not today's culture where the guy sitting next to you in jeans and a t-shirt might be a multi-millionaire. Most people wouldn't remotely want to associate with the other classes. The culture gap was as big or bigger than anything in our society today. It would be like a rich vegan New York liberal yoga coach sneaking into a Nascar party to pal around with a bunch of drunk conservatives talking about gay people, or vice versa (or whatever stereotypical social conflict you want to use as ccx an example). There probably wasn't much envy about the carefree unrestricted life of 3rd class passengers, so much as there was pity and disgust (how can people tolerate being such lowlifes?)

Yes, for some there might be some kind of thrill, but you'd stick out like a sore thumb and most people would be appalled by the culture shock.

The opportunity to get a sneak peek at other classes was also available on land where it would be easier to come and go unseen, and there would be more interesting stuff to see than the 3rd class open space.

---
One other passenger who did jump between classes:

If I recall, 2nd class passenger Eva Hart's father arranged for her to go to the 3rd class areas where they would walk the 1st class dogs. I don't doubt that no one thought she was anything other than a 2nd class passenger.
Although most of the 1953 "Titanic" movie is pure Hollywood fiction, there is scene in which "Richard Ward Sturges" (Clifton Webb) walks up stairs from Steerage and walks out onto what appears to be one of the First Class Promenade Decks. He takes the sign showing "First Class Passenger Only" or something of that nature to a be-fuddled man (another fictional character) in the process telling him that he will behave properly.

Of course the "Sturges" character's clothes, language ,speech, mannerisms and dress were those of a First Class Passenger. So once up there I don't think anyone would have judged him to be from a lower class ?

There is quite a bit more "character development" involved, but I won't go into that but you can by viewing that movie and make your own judgements about it. :)

But that is how one person might have done it.
 
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Just another aside on just one of the other errors in ," THAT !!!!" 1953 "Titanic" movie.
In real life Titanic had not been booked to capacity . Far from it.
Sturges would have had no problems in booking passage in any class due to vacancies.
The story in the movie about having to bribe the immigrants family seems to be something concocted by the film writer for some unknown reason.
And this whole subject of someone sneaking into First Class must be dismissed as some sort of "literary license".

Reading between the lines I think the reason Sturges didn't just tell the agent at Cherbourg he was joining his wife and children and paid for himself as another passenger was that he wanted to surprise "Julia" and that he was up to her plans to escape from him and steal his children ?

I also think he might have been asked to show a First Class ticket anyway, so the whole thing can be set aside as being highly unlikely ? Again, just along the lines "it's just a movie anyway" "Sturges" seemed to be on friendly relations with stewards, etc.from past voyages, they would have recognized him, and they would not suspect there was any thing other than his being in First Class.

So yes ! .It would be rather unlikely in real life. Another case of my "much ado about nothing" :)
 
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May 3, 2005
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Just another aside on just one of the other errors in ," THAT !!!!" 1953 "Titanic" movie.
In real life Titanic had not been booked to capacity . Far from it.
Sturges would have had no problems in booking passage in any class due to vacancies.
The story in the movie about having to bribe the immigrants family seems to be something concocted by the film writer for some unknown reason.
And this whole subject of someone sneaking into First Class must be dismissed as some sort of "literary license".

Reading between the lines I think the reason Sturges didn't just tell the agent at Cherbourg he was joining his wife and children and paid for himself as another passenger was that he wanted to surprise "Julia" and that he was up to her plans to escape from him and steal his children ?

I also think he might have been asked to show a First Class ticket anyway, so the whole thing can be set aside as being highly unlikely ? Again, just along the lines "it's just a movie anyway" "Sturges" seemed to be on friendly relations with stewards, etc.from past voyages, they would have recognized him, and they would not suspect there was any thing other than his being in First Class.

So yes ! .It would be rather unlikely in real life. Another case of my "much ado about nothing" :)
Borrowing from another thread :
Quote : " Some people have really too much phantasy." LOL
 
May 3, 2005
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Was there any type of random, surprised inspections asking for tickets in 1st and 2nd class during the voyage?
Sorry, but I haven't had any experiences other than the visits to the ships and the stay at Hotel Queen Mary so I don't have an answer to your question.

Also the 1953 "Titanic" was my first experience of a "Titanic" movie. I must have been a bit naive at that time.
I thought that everything in the movie was factual and historically correct. LOL

Incidentally there was a slight but very low admission fee to visit the Queen Mary. Funds from the sale of admission tickets went to a "Seaman's Relief Fund".

On Titanic in 1912 :
It might have been like it was for train travel in the USA, at least back when I was in the US Navy.

I always took the train home on leave while in the Navy.
You had to show your ticket when boarding the train and the conductor would ask for you to show your ticket along the way at points in between at various times during the trip.
 
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Even if they could have, I doubt they would have.
I doubt if there would have ever been in real life a man who would have ever been in the same situation to do this as was Mr. Richard Ward Sturges !
As has been said by another person in another thread "You can do anything you like in the movies !"
:)
 

Tim Gerard

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I recently finished reading "The Thief" by Clive Cussler which starts in in 1910 or 1911 or so on the Mauretania. There was an event held on the ship during the crossing in First Class (I'm trying to be vague attempting to not give too much away for anyone who kight want to read it) where Second Class passengers were allowed to come into First Class spaces to attend but Third Class were not allowed.

I know "The Thief" is a piece of fiction so I don't know how realistic that may or may not have been for the time.
 
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dstrattenfan

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Hilda Maria Hellström a 3rd class passenger did
5A7D9C3F-F6A4-4C5C-891C-774BBD551352.png
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I have seen that anecdote in Hilda Hellstrom's bio here on her ET. Oddly enough, over 25 years earlier one of the German visitors at the annual BTS convention in Southampton mentioned reading about a Swedish girl from steerage sneaking into First Class area but he could not remember the name. We found it very hard to believe and I meant to ask Claes-Goran Wetterholm, probably the best known expert on Scandinavian passengers on board the Titanic about it but forgot. I believe the German guy was talking about Hilda Hellstrom.

It is a virtually unverifiable claim but I concede that it might just be true. IMO (and someone correct me if I am wrong in this conjecture), it might have been possible for a single, reasonably well-dressed young woman from Third Class to walk past stewards unchallenged if she acted perfectly naturally and they were busy otherwise. Also, there was a shortcut from a third class corridor through a second class staircase aft that led to the upper decks. A picture of that connection appears on p97 of Don Lynch's Titanic: An Illustrated History and some other works.

I wonder which room she meant when she said "main ballroom"? Might it have been the Palm Court? I did not think the band played music there.
 
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Jim Currie

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Most of you won't remember the days when how a person was turned-out every morning identified them as of a specific class. In 1912 it was very much the case. Unless a 2nd Class passenger, looked like a 1st Class passenger, he or she would have found it hard to get past he 1st Class Stewards who knew every passenger under their care and who would be looking for "a little something" at the end of the trip.
Snobbery was alive and floureshing back then and everyone "knew their place" in a society which was divided ridgedly into The Working Class, the Middle Class and the Upper middle-class professionals which included Merchants, Solicitors, Bankers, Surgeons, Physician and Manufacturers. The lower middle-class people included shop keepers, office workers, traveling salesmen, teachers and factory foremen. That was more or less the case until after WW2.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I would think she meant the aft grand staircase maybe?
Could be. If Hilda Hellstrom's story is true, which I think is unlikely but not impossible, then the room she was referring to could have been the Cafe Parisien. It was quite close to the aft grand staircase and unless I am mistaken, the Trio String Orchestra that included Georges Krins sometimes played there. Their music could be what Hilda heard, especially as it could have filtered down the stairwell.

But the only anomaly with that conjecture is why Hilda would refer to the Cafe Parisien as the "main ballroom" (unless it was a translation error of her statement).
 
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AndrewBrown

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I was shocked too, to find out that anyone can explore first class before the voyage. Not sure about 3rd class passengers though?

Differently she was seeing her friend off Mr.Beesley. She left the ship; not as a passenger, but as a on looker. I recall reading article on here and on FB.
Third-class passengers did not have this opportunity!!
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Third-class passengers did not have this opportunity!!

Definitely, certainly not the men or any child. But a young third class woman like Hilda Hellstrom might have had an outside chance for a brief period IF she had a reasonably nice dress and was able to behave with natural confidence. Human nature being what its is - and especially so in 1912 - a busy male steward might not have noticed anything amiss if a well dressed young lady walked past him pretending as though she belonged there. I don't know what Hilda was like in real life but if she appeared typically Scandinavian (to hell with Political correctness),was reasonably well dressed and behaved naturally, she might have been able to reach the fringes of the Cafe Parisien to unobtrusively listen to that music for a few minutes.
 
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