Third class passengersb bar


John Lynott

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Mar 31, 2000
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Much has been written about the luxurious appointments on board the Titanic but the second and third class fare tends to get left out. I wrote a feature/book review on the third class food aboard the ship when I was a sub-editor on an evening paper in Yorkshire, deriving material from Archbold and McCauley's Last Dinner on the Titanic and would be fascinated if any beer experts have further to add about the second and third class bars...what was on sale, opening hours, etc. It must be remembered that for most of the third class passengers the transatlantic voyage was the first holiday of their lives. Many of the single men from Britain and Ireland were brought up in a pub culture and must have gravitated to the two third class bars in the evenings to enjoy a final taste of the life they were leaving behind them.
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 25, 2001
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Hi John,

You appear to be new! Welcome! I'm not familiar with your Titanic knowledge level, so just tell me if I'm stating the obvious.

Second class only had three main public rooms: a library, a smoking room, and a dining saloon. They also had a barber shop. Third class had a general room, a smoking room, and two dining saloons separated by a watertight bulkhead.

The closest thing to a stereotypical bar in any class would have been the smoking room. This room was intended for men to gather, drink, smoke, play cards, or do anything else that the Edwardian world deemed masculine.

When you see the phrase "Third Class Bar," don't be deceived. In 1912, a "bar" didn't necessarily mean a room to drink and make merry. It also didn't mean a narrow counter with stools and a bartender that we think of today. That kind of bar was almost nonexistent on ships before 1920 (it was prohibition that started that trend on international ships). You certainly would never have found one in first class.

On Titanic, the word bar denotes a small, crew only room (usually adjoining a public room) where liquor was stored and prepared. If you wanted a drink in first class (and probably second), you would simply give a steward your order and he would go to the bar, prepare it, and serve it to you.

I'm not sure how you would "order" a drink in third. I'm sure that White Star wouldn't have hired the number of stewards needed to hand deliver each drink.

Hope this helps,

David
 
Mar 28, 2002
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You know, I'm glad someone has brought this up. I always thought that if I were to be travelling on Titanic I would have probably - undoubtedly - ended up in third class. And I like beer. I've often wondered how I would have got my hands on a pint. I was opting for a bar in the stools / bartender category but I've never heard any mention of one. So I thought, were they waited on and I thought, no, I doubt it. Then I thought, were women and kids allowed like they are today and I don't know, except to say that everytime the 3rd class is portrayed in TV and movies, there is a mixture of everyone and they all seem to be, how shall we put it, "jolly".

And what did they drink? I'm guessing it was stout, bitter and mild for the men but I don't know what the women would have drank - gin with slimline tonic? Who knows? And was lager available? Or Guiness? Oh God, I've worked myself up into a frenzy again and the pub ain't open for another 2 and a half hours!

Gasping in anticipation,

Boz
 

Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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Boz:
Rumor has it that much Bass Ale was aboard and went down with the Titanic, so I've made it my beer of choice ever since.
(I'm sending you an overdue post offline).
 
May 8, 2001
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Boz. I have looked over the good and bad, and believe I too would stick to the 3rd class for one simple reason.... The Food! I could not figure out the fancy names for 1st class food, and the only thing that I thought sounded good was sweet bread. By chance, Shelly finally described what that really was, and I got sick to my stomach!
PS if it will make you feel better, the bar here doesn't close for another 5 hours. I will have a drink for you if it will help, but NO Bass Ale!
Cheers. (Just rubbing it in)....
Colleen
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Someone who knows more about the period than I do might correct me but I doubt whether the third class women would have drunk liquor in public at all. How says the panel?
 
Mar 28, 2002
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That's such a shame - all that beer gone to waste. It wouldn't have gone well with the sweetbreads though, but I believe curried chicken was available so I would have spent all my time eating and drinking! I'm not sure if chicken curry is popular in the US like it is over here but some surveys suggest that chicken curry and variations of balti dishes are now the most popular dining out meals in Britain. Nothing like a beer and curry to knock a bad day on the head!

Bass Ale - we have a Bass Brewery at Cape Hill, Smethwick and that's one beer that seems to have passed me right by. God, that's really strange.

Pubs open until 5am??? You are joking??? Last orders here is 11pm, because of our antiquated British laws. Some things just ain't fair....

Mike - will read your post tomorrow as it would have gone to my works e-mail address. I do have one here at home but it's part of a 100-hour free trial with AOL and as AOL has thrown me out 7 times in the last 24 hours, I don't trust it.

Pub open in 1 and a half hours. There is a crunch football match for local team Wolverhampton Wanderers (the Wolves) for promotion to the Premier League. They have to beat Norwich, so the pub will be packed out. I may watch EastEnders instead.

Cheers,

Boz
 

John Lynott

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Mar 31, 2000
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I'm glad I've started off some sort of debate on this topic. Like Boz I've always thought I would have been paying out £8 for my third class ticket. Much of the day-to-day life of the third class passengers on the Titanic still has to be given serious study. We do know that some 15,000 or more bottles of ale and stout (no draught?!) were loaded at Southampton and I can't see that being the tipple of the likes of Col Gracie (though he was a keen cricketer) and his chums. Given that the Titanic's third class was billed as better than second on some other liners and White Star's keenness to cultivate their trade I'd like to think that the passengers could enjoy a good session - when they weren't chasing rats, dancing jigs or saving the lives of society maidens. Oh, Boz, lager was available in first class at 3d and 6d a tankard (see first class menus). I shall mull over these thoughts later with a pint of Tetley's bitter at c 1600 hrs BST at the Swan Inn in Addingham near Ilkley with my good friends the doctor and the chiropodist!
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Dave - here's an interesting passage from one of Clear Cameron's letters (New York City, July 5th 1912):

I wish I could be home for a few minutes for a good meal and a glass of stout - the cost of a small half pint Guinness here is 1 shilling! would you believe it. Women are not allowed in Pubs here you know, which I think is a good job and I have not yet seen one man drunk, everybody goes in for Icecream Sodas and all sorts of other iced drinks which are sold in the Drug Stores...

Whether she was wishing for a meal and a glass in a pub is not entirely clear, but it seems to suggest that's what she was thinking. It also suggests that British and American social mores regarding women drinking in public may have been different. I've always had a fondness for Clear, and drinking Guinness raises her more than a notch in my estimation.

I'm off to Covent Garden in half an hour to meet up with a visiting Aussie mate, and no doubt we shall carefully consider the merits of rather-more-than-a-s hilling Guinness.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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I did watch EastEnders instead and Wolves lost to Norwich 3-1.

Hopefully, all the Wolves fans have already drowned their sorrows and gone home. I'm now going next door to have a pint (maybe half, can't stand the stuff) of Guiness in Clear's memory.

Inger - hope you had a good time with your mate.
John - knowning journos, I know you had a good time.
Colleen / Dave H / Mike - hope you have a nice Sunday lunch. I set fire to my stove. Again.
Dave G - what's tomorrow looking like? Is it worth getting out of bed?

Cheers,

Boz
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Iain, where I am it's going to be fine, sunny and about 22°C. I think I'll go sailing for a few hours. Your mileage may differ.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Hello all-

Couldn't help but throw a little something here to my fellow drinking buddies! This is nothing new or unheard of, but as I look over Titanic's deck plans, I noticed a wall seperating the General Room from the Smoke Room. Now, adjacent to the Smoke Room is another area with yet another small room noted as Bar. There is no furnishing layout, and I am not sure if "bar" simply meant where the bottles were stored or what. However, one will notice that just outside this area is the staircase, and Directly below this Bar space is the "Gent's Lav". I think that gives a big clue!

P.S.: Across from the Gent's Lav. is the Ladies Lav., so the potential party gals were also accomodated!

Cheers!
Kris
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Evening Kris,

Can you tell me exactly where the third class bar is in relation to the dining saloon? I assume it is on F-deck but I just cannot see it.

Cheers,

Boz
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hi Boz,

On the deck plans in the Shipbuilder, there is a "Bar" near the forward 3rd Class entrance on E-deck, just alongside the stairs that lead to the 3rd Class Open Space on D-deck. But in Eaton & Haas' deck plans this has become stateroom 9A.

Hope this helps,
Regards,
Lester
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Ian & Lester-

Not to confuse matters, but here I go anyway: Two sources I have, Eaton & Haas "Triumph..."(2nd ed.), and a copy of deck plans from "Titanic: The Official Story" (that box-set number), the "Bar" in question was listed as C deck, yes, just inside from the 3rd class Prom. Now if there are updates or new information regarding these plans, I am not aware- forgive me. The "Bar" is considerably at a distance from the split 3rd class Dining Saloon.

I just wan't to explain where I'm coming from; any clarification would be most appreciated.

Now I really need a beer!
Kris
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hi Kris,

Yes it is even in the Shipbuilder plans; same location as in the E&H plans. So as with 1st and 2nd Class there was a Bar adjacent to the Smoking Room. I did not look there the first time.

In the Boxed Set, you will also see the Bar I previously mentioned on E-deck forward near the Starboard-side 3rd Class Entrance. Interestingly it also has an 8 with it; suggesting a stateroom for 8 persons.

Lester
 

Kris Muhvic

Member
Jul 3, 2001
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Lester-

Yes! I never noticed E-deck "BAR / 8" before...although I wonder if that was meant as accomodation for the bar-tenders or bar-keepers (whatever they were known as then)? As you have seen, crew, wait staff, musicians etc. had their sleeping arrangments scattered in nooks all over the ship. Now for our bar buddies, I can not say if any class distinction would have prevailed in their being bunk mates. Working a bar I don't think ever had a social cache to it... even though they can, after a few, be one's best friend!

Take care-
Kris
 

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