The Officers' Bathtub

Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
There may have been a belief at the time that salt water had tharapuetic value, but the practical reason for this is water conservation. The ship had to distill it's own while at sea and the production would have had to supply fresh water for all the needs of the ship. That's boilers as well as the hotel demands.

As far as I know, the Titanic didn't have showers in the staterooms that had en suite baths, though IIRC, they did exist for rinsing off from the swimming pool. I'll have to check my sources when I get the chance.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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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...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.<<

I guess Stephen Blackwell was lucky, then, to have a bathroom all to himself (unless the officers jumped in to take care of emergencies), LOL. Of course, he would still have to run down the hall and have to lock the door when taking his bath. Unless he was a clean-freak, though, he probably only had to take a total of one bath while aboard. A bath once a week was routine at the turn of the century, at least in America. Not sure about England. It appears that he had the best 'seat' in the house, LOL.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I learned recently that the Brits have a different spin on the word "bathroom". While staying at an old hotel on Picadilly Circus, the Bath matron had to be rung up to unlock the shower and bath room. There were spigots or taps and sinks in the bedrooms, but the "loo" or watercloset, W.C. or toilet was quite its own room, separate from the bath,which was truly a bath room and nothing else. Americans get a little squeamish about the word toilet, which is used with comfort all over Europe. We have to buy bathroom tissue- not toilet paper! Ensuite is a word now easily bandied about, and apparently somewhat of a luxury as it means you get to have your bath, toilet and sink ALL within the confines of one's sleeping accommodations, and not have to trot down corridors with a sponge bag, rubber ducky, and towel. Of course one could have a "bird bath" or a "lick and a promise" from a washbowl and pitcher in the cabin. And central heating..well, that's another dicey business!
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Well, you had to have the loo separate from the bathroom, Shelley, otherwise a carefree bather could hog the place for hours, whilst everyone else queued desperately outside. I remember those pre en-suite days. There was nearly always a notice in the bathroom saying "Kindly leave the bathroom as you would wish to find it". No Bath Matron where I stayed as a girl obviously, just the stern notice, a tin of Vim and a cloth.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Makes good sense to me- the above scenario was just in 2001. It was all wonderfully Agatha Christie-ish and lots of fun. Sort of made having a bath a special ritual. Speaking of salt water, spas, salt water and such, the Vanessa Redgrave -Dustin Hoffman film called Agatha, about that mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Christie was a marvelous explanation of spas, Harrogate, electricity,mineral water and hydrotherapies-all with a chilling ending! I was a little disappointed when I found these wonderful watering holes gone from Harrogate with only Betty's tearoom and the famous toffee still around. There is a charming supper club and cocktail room called The Olympic, which begs for a Hercule Poirot appearance. I hope Holiday Inn and McDonald's don't take over what's left of gracious olde England.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Shelley,

Now you have me wondering.

Quote from page 27 of Judith Geller's: Titanic Women and Children First
"........ and there was the lavatory with hot and cold running water ....."

Clearly the comment refers to the wash basin.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Bet you wondered also, Lester, about those 'lavatory sinks' and 'folding lavatories' which abound in Titanic staterooms. Hopefully the Edwardians didn't share our confusion about their intended use! Modern dictionaries still offer the two alternative meanings for the word 'lavatory', but it did originally mean a place or a vessel used for washing (from the Latin Lavatorium).
 
Dec 6, 2000
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So a "folding lavatory" was a wash basin!

The explains the comment on page 30 of E&H's TT&T which refers to the servants' rooms as having a folding lavatory, which I thought was just that as I have seen the same on trains. - Still there was always the old chamber pot to fall back on!
 
Apr 11, 2001
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And they are still made, Les-, folding lavs, for camping and such. You can Google an image of one. I think the lavatory confusion comes thanks to American elementary schools, and our fear of the word "toilet"! Teacher always gave us a lavatory pass, although I doubt many students had hand-washing in mind at all. Good grief we have to "Potty train" our babies on "potty chairs", go to the "little girls' room to powder our noses", and go to the john, the head, the facility, or to "see Mrs. Murphy". Anything other than to say the dreaded "T word"! All very fascinating stuff. By the way the BTS journal has a splendid and comprehensive article on plumbing last issue.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Deck plans show "WC". The text of the Shipbuilder says "(private bath and) lavatory" [irrespective of whether they were in the same room or separate compartments]. Fare Rate booklets be they in pounds or dollars say "(private bath and) toilet".

I still find the idea of calling a wash basin a lavatory strange; but it seems in light of what was posted by E&H that Harland & Wolff did just that.

Lester
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Certainly when we see a reference to a 'lavatory' we can't be sure what was meant by the term, but that was the intention! All of this nonsense started back in the eighteenth century, when it first became fashionable to avoid direct mention of certain essentials of life. Just as Americans today refer to a wc as a 'bathroom', our forebears referred to it as a 'toilet', a word which had an established meaning as a ladies' dressing table where she might, for instance, 'powder her nose'. 'Lavatory' was another suitably ambiguous term and if I remember right, back in the '50s it was considered to be rather more genteel than 'toilet', but it seems now to be out of fashion. Glossaries of plumbing terminology generally now define a 'lavatory' only as a washbasin.

The time has come to end all this confusion. All you Americans out there, from now on stop referring to bathrooms and restrooms when you really mean a {deleted by moderator}. We all have to {deleted by moderator} and {deleted by moderator}, so we might as well do it in a {deleted by moderator}.
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Apr 11, 2001
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I have been practicing "Toilet" in the mirror, Bob, and am nearly ready to say it in public now. Don't forget, "Ladies' Room", Gents, powder room and washroom. I really like Necessarium, Ernie (toilets ought to be masculine I think).Mother Church has a lavabo in the sacristy, which is a small sink which empties in the ground for washing chalices and such. I bet lavatory was just a nice 1950's attempt to avoid the deadly toilet word. I am surprised Latin teachers did not cluck over this gross stretch of the porcelaine convenience! Then, one must also consider "toilet water", which I think, is a more diluted form of eau de cologne, itself being a diluted form of the more costly perfume- a whole new avenue for us to explore. For those who seldom submersed themselves in a steamy tub, I imagine this was a useful "freshener". Do we dare to contemplate the bidette? Remember SOS Titanic when Mrs. Astor mourned the absence of that fixture, musing Titanic was not a French ship after all!? Will delve into that right after I..er.. make a trip to the necessarium sanctorum.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Ernie, I rather like the traditional term 'house of easement'. Very descriptive!

Shelley, I too have been encouraged to use the word 'toilet' in polite company. But needless to say, the word I normally use is not 'bathroom'! The traditional meaning of 'toilet' has indeed survived in the use of terms like 'toiletries' and 'toilet requisities' (or, for Monty Python fans, 'requisititititites' :)
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Dec 6, 2000
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Shelley you missed out Cloak Room.

When going to the movies one encountered Powder and Cloak rooms. At Railway stations a Cloak room was for luggage. The exact purpose of Titanic's A-deck Cloak rooms exudes me. - Looking at the deck plans for the Shipbuilder there was also a large Cloak Room on C-deck.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Pondering on Cloak Rooms I have known, they seem to be the place to drop off, for a brief time, umbrellas, capes, evening wraps, galoshes, sunshades and parasols,small bundles, hats,jackets, motoring veils, valises, rainwear, jackets and the like. Most genteel establishments for entertainment and enlightenment like opera houses, museums, theatres, fine restaurants, still have these delightful nooks, staffed by helpful matrons of goodwill in demure attire. I have a theory that this institution of the Cloak Room fell by the wayside when we all got "civilized" and abandonned hat-wearing, motoring veils and the like and decided to ramble in the barest minimum attire possible. Also, service is a word seldom heard these days. First and Second Class aboard any ship would have been well-acquainted with the refined service of the Cloak Room, and the comfort they offered to patrons. I expect those deciding to stride along the decks for exercise could park their athletic equipment, outer wraps, and the myriad odds and ends in these cloak rooms, thoughtfully located, and retrieve them later.
 
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Alyson Jones

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I have notice that Captain Smith bath tub, does not have bath tabs attach to it,unlike the baths we have today which have bath tabs which run water straight in to the bath tub. So with baths on board the Titanic,did the bather had to run water in to a bucket to tip in to the bath? Is that how it went?. You can see no bath tabs on captain Smith bath tub!