The Officers' Bathtub

Apr 22, 2012
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Hello,

I know that Captain Smith had a private lavatory with a bathtub, but I was wondering where the officers would have bathed. I remember them also having their own bathroom, but where would their tub have been? Was part of their bathroom sectioned off to include a bathtub that they could each use at different times or something? This was just something I had been thinking about the past few days and thought I'd ask.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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There was a separate Officers Lav and bath on the boat deck across the hall from the Marconi operators. One would assume that Bride and Phillips could also use the facilities. There were also 6 passenger accomodations on the boat deck, three on each side. There was one Lav and bath for those people as well. So all together counting the Captain, there were 3 toilets and three bath tubs on the boatdeck. Only the Captain had his own.

Dave
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Thanks for the information Dave! That's interesting that all six of the first class cabins located on the Boat Deck shared the same bathroom.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Yeah, 6 staterooms, 1 toilet and 1 bath. Kinda makes you think that either there was a line every morning for the bath, or people just didn't bath(shower) daily as we do today. Somewhere I read that you would ring your steward and have him/her let you know when a bath was available and that they might even draw the bath for you as well. I just keep picturing the countess of Rothes sneaking down the hall in a bathrobe and hair curlers hoping that nobody sees her! LOL. I grew up in a house which 4 people shared one bath. I sure hope the Titanic had more hot water availble than we did! LOL.
Dave
 
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Kathy A. Miles

Guest
I imagine that a lot of people would sponge bath in their cabins frequently and use that one bathtub sparingly. It seems hard to believe that those cabins were so expensive and yet there were 6 staterooms to one bath!
 
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Geoffrey Todd Bennett

Guest
Hey guys....also remember that it was cold..so nobody but the firemen down below sweated...so I'd think that a bath every few days was good enough....
Thank god I'm only 4 steps from my own toilet...LOL
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Kathy,

Have you thought to look at the other decks?

A deck forward there were 30 single-berth rooms [28 of which could be made into two-berth rooms; plus 4 three-berth rooms = 42 to 60 passengers, plus 1 stewardess. - 5 baths.
B-deck forward section. 27 single-berth rooms [24 could be two-berth]; 4 two-berth and 18 three-berth. = 89 to 113 passengers. - 6 baths.

Bathroom wise the 7 passengers who could be accommodated on the boat deck had it over the other decks. That is unless you had a room with a Private bathroom and lavatory.

As you note it was 1912 and people did not bath daily.
 
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KB Vogelsong

Guest
I agree with you there, Kathy. I think people probably would have sponge bathed in their rooms, even if only for privacy and not because, as stated, their bathing habits were not what they are today. What Geoffrey said is true, also. They were on a ship and the air was cold. They probably wouldn't have needed to bathe daily (of course, some of the women would make me think differently)!

Off topic, slightly. What exactly were the bathing habits (at home) of that period? Lester, you said they did not bathe daily. How often would they?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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KB, most people (ie working and lower middle classes) took a bath when they (or their friends!) thought they needed one. So a coalminer would need to use the household tin bath daily after returning from work, but an office clerk would bathe at not too frequent intervals like weekly or monthly, except on special occasions. On other days a 'strip wash' in the bedroom or scullery would suffice - very few houses had bathrooms.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Laura Ingalls Wilder, who lived at the turn of the century, recorded that people generally bathed once a week on Saturday nights. Cowboys generally bathed after a cattle drive, which could have lasted for weeks on the trail. Perhaps a dip in a river or pond occasionally occurred between trips to town to squire ladies at the local saloon? Bathing was considered risky to one's health, although health reformers tried to encourage people to bathe three or four times per week around 1880. Up to that suggestion, people thought they might catch their death of cold from the exposure in the bath, not to mention that water sources were not as pure as we might think it was, and bacteria from impure water sources was frequently the cause of epidemics. So people did take sponge baths from pitchers and bowls in their bedrooms, and used a lot of scented powders and toilette waters to hide odors. This practice continued until indoor plumbing became more available. Even in the backhills of Kentucky, a lot of people didn't have indoor plumbing until the 60's. Chamberpots and ceramic bathing bowls and pitchers were commonplace in my early childhood memories. So were outhouses. Papaw had a two-seater and was considered well off because of it!

Kyrila
 
Dec 4, 2000
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My grandmother who was a young woman at the time of Titanic always said that the greatest invention of the 20th century was deodorant.

-- David G. Brown
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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I told my husband about this thread and he said, "I can tell that no one there has ever tried to take a sponge bath in front of a small fire standing in a tin basin in an unheated house in the middle of winter." That was at least part of it, I'm sure.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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As they'd say in the well-known Monty Python sketch: "In front of a small fire? Sheer bloody luxury!" :) Like many of the oldies here, I grew up in a house without heating and no hot water that didn't come from a kettle. We washed in the scullery, which had a cold water supply and no heat except from the gaslights. Not from choice - there were no other options.
 
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Jake Angus

Guest
If you look at the deck plans, all FC and I believe Second Class rooms have washbasins. In third I believe that at least some of the rooms had washbasins.

But what about those multi-berth cabins w/washbasins? Taking your sponge bath w/yer cabin companions a few feet away? I still haven't figured this one out!
huh.gif
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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Washbasins were a standard fitment in Third Class cabins, but back in 1912 very few people at that end of society took a bath of any kind at intervals of more than once a week. A transatlantic crossing, lasting less than a week, would not be long enough to generate a need for bathing facilities in Third Class, though there were a couple of bathrooms available just in case any member of the 'great unwashed' felt the need. There were plenty of bathrooms available to travellers in Second and Third Class.
 
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Claire McConville

Guest
I don't think it was limited to "olden times" either. I remember as late as 1979 on a holiday to my family in Fermanagh N Ireland as a child. There was NO bathroom and NO bath of any sort. You simply had to take a bowl into your room and wash as best you could. The toilet was another story.... I grimaced as I had to cross the yard in the night to a makeshift barn toilet *shiver* (coming from London England it was a real eye opener). My brother's wife told me the other day, how my dad used to ask my brother "Why does she bath every day... doesn't she know it's bad for her?" hehe
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Heya, on the subject of bathing I heard that there were two sets of taps, one for salt water and one for fresh water. Who'd want a salt water bath? What did they think was the advantage of it?

Also, did they have showers as well or did they have to 'make do' with a bath?

Christa