Steerage Clothing


May 3, 2005
2,599
280
278
In the Third Class/Steerage party scene in ANTR(dancing and singing, etc.). The Irish Tenor who is singing is neatly dressed in a dress suit and tie, etc. - much more neatly dressed, that is - in comparison to most of the others in the scene who are plainly dressed. Was there any significance to this ? Was the person in question based on some historical person, fact or incident ?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
87
308
UK
None of the 3rd Class characters in ANTR are based on real people, but Michael Gallagher (the quieter of the two Irishmen) has the same name and performs some of the actions of the real Martin Gallagher. Pat Murphy (the singer) is more of a stereotype - a 'broth of a boy' behaving much as audiences might expect.

There's nothing unusual in the fact that both men are wearing suits - most of the 3rd Class passengers would have been 'dressed in their best', and few of the Irish contingent were representative of the poverty-stricken immigrants of traditional 'steerage' in earlier decades.
.
 
Feb 24, 2004
907
3
111
Hi, Robert!

Something I need to keep reminding myself is that "steerage" on the Titanic didn't necessarily equal "destitute." I don't have the precise figures at hand, but if you figure a 3rd-class passenger paid £8 for a ticket, at a pound-to-US dollar conversion of roughly 1-to-5, then adjusted for inflation through December 2004, it works out to $771.10. Not exactly chickenfeed.

Roy
 
May 3, 2005
2,599
280
278
Hi Roy-

Good point ! I think the problem is that we usually tend to stereotype the Steerage Class passengers as all being in the lower classes such as the Irish and other European immigrants. (Along with the unmentionable Jack Dawson, Farbrizio and Tommy Ryan. :) However there were probably other groups...families traveling together, etc... who were probably more affluent. There were some stories about those who would normally travel First Class who traveled Second Class on the Titanic due to the coal strike and maybe this was a "trickle down" effect in that some traveling Third Class would have been normally traveled Second Class, etc. ANTR does do a good job in showing the variety of clothing worn, especially in the "Third Class Party" scene with the singing and dancing and also in later scenes...putting on lifejackets, etc. ANTR did a much better job of this than the 1953 and 1997 movies. Mac Quitty does make a point in the interview on the DVD of the vast difference in the prices paid by Third Class and First Class passengers for their passage.

Robert
 
May 3, 2005
2,599
280
278
Hi again Roy-

Another comment on these lines. There is another website with a list of passengers who just made the cross channel crossing from Southampton to Cherbourg. The fares listed are mostly in the 1-Pound range (Sorry....no "Pound Sign" on my keyboard) but some are in the 24-Pound range. Is this another instance of just being Class differences or what did the "24-Pounders" get that the "1-Pounders" didn't get just for the short trip ?

Robert
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
87
308
UK
MacQuitty was a great salesman, and liked to over-emphasize the difference in ticket prices by comparing the typical 3rd Class single fare with the price of the most costly of the 1st Class suites. That's a ploy still used by tabloid journalists today. In fact, many 1st Class passengers paid less than £30, so there wasn't a vast difference between the basic rates for the different classes. 2nd Class cost very roughly twice as much as 3rd, and basic 1st Class about twice as much as 2nd.

The listing of what people paid for passage to Cherbourg or Queenstown is complicated by ticket 84, which was issued for several people who paid a total of £24. Listings might give the impression that they each paid that much.
.
 
Feb 24, 2004
907
3
111
Another layer to the Third-class story, I suppose, is that just because they could swing the price of a steerage ticket on the Titanic didn't mean that they were necessarily (pardon me!) well-off peasants. Packing up and moving to the New World was a monumental life-change to consider and many had probably been saving up for that bargain-rate ticket, and making their plans, for a long, long time before they entrusted their lives to the White Star Line.

Roy
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
87
308
UK
On the other hand, a great many of the 3rd class passengers were not immigrants at all, but people returning to the US following a visit to family in 'the old country'. Among the Irish in particular, these people often boarded like pied pipers leading a small army of friends and relatives who had been quickly persuaded to accompany them back to the land of opportunity. Most of these followers, of course, were 'young singles' who could afford to make the move without the need for long-term planning and saving.

If they didn't already have the cash saved, many could borrow from relatives, especially from siblings already established in the USA. For large families, the best policy was for the breadwinner to make the journey first, then, with the benefit of higher wages in the US, work and save hard with the intention of sending the ticket money for the rest of the family as soon as possible.

And of course the vast majority of people who travelled in any Class on Titanic were European in origin and therefore, on a world scale, they were all relatively wealthy. Sadly, the world hasn't changed much in that respect.
.
 
Feb 24, 2004
907
3
111
Hi, Bob!

>>On the other hand, a great many of the 3rd class passengers were not immigrants at all, but people returning to the US following a visit to family in 'the old country'.

Very true. That was the case with Margaret Rice, of Spokane, and her 5 sons. A sad, sad story!

Roy
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
87
308
UK
And it doesn't end there, Roy. The gravedigger who interred Wiliam Rice at Spokane in 1910 was himself buried at Fairview in Halifax two years later. He too had been back to the old country (England in his case) and was returning with his new bride, in 2nd Class on the Titanic. Like the Rice family, both perished.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
87
308
UK
The couple were the Chapmans, John and Sarah. Sarah had a chance to get away in boat 4, but Emily Richards remembered her last words as "If John can't go, I won't go either". Till death us do part. They had been man and wife for only a few weeks.
 
Feb 24, 2004
907
3
111
A few years ago I began a survey of people on the Titanic who were from, or bound for, my "corner" of the US and Canada. To my surprise, the number was much larger than I'd anticipated. When you mentioned the undertaker, I was afraid I'd overlooked somebody. The good news for me is that the Chapmans are on my list.

Thank you, Bob, for the information. I appreciate it.

Roy
 
May 3, 2005
2,599
280
278
Michael-

Try this one (on the post of 11 July 2005 1:48 AM.) The previous attempt was the review by John Rosenfield in the Dallas Morning News.
Can I delete the previous post (or this one if it still doesn't work ?)

-Robert
 
May 3, 2005
2,599
280
278
Michael-

Looks like it's not going to work. Probably too much data. Could you delete my recent postings and clear up the message board? My apologies but seems to be a problem. It worked the first time but when I tried again to check it no results.

Maybe best to just try to go to the Dallas Morning News Archives website. I found the article on the review of "A Night To Remember" by searching on "Titanic" and "1959".

Best regards,
Robert
 

Similar threads

Similar threads