TITANIC DRAMA MINISERIES REVIEWED (ITV - Episode 4)


Encyclopedia Titanica

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Sorry this is late if anyone is still interested. I myself found it hard to sustain attention. Well as tearful Zlist celebrities so often gasp “It’s been a journey!” The only trouble is that I’m not sure where I’ve been. I’ve said quite enough already about the dialogue characterisation and – most of all – the lesthansuccessful structure of this series so we won’t go there again save t... Titanic Review Tue, 17 Apr 2012

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Paul Rogers

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Another excellent review, Mon. So much more enjoyable than the programme itself!

Here's a question, though. You said:

"And then there were the locked gates – again. I know it’s a heartstring-tugger, but it is really time that this was laid to rest. Nobody locked the gates between 3rd class and the rest of the ship after the collision - they were always locked - American health regulations. The issue was unlocking them."

I was under the impression that any gates that may have existed were no more than waist-high, and were therefore of no relevance whatsoever in keeping Third Class passengers below decks. Am I totally mistaken in this?
 

Bob Godfrey

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At the British Inquiry, Harland & Wolff's Naval Architect Edward Wilding was questioned about the infamous waist-high gates:

Is it a rail which can be lifted up by hand? - Quite readily, my Lord.
Is it kept locked or fastened? - Not in any way. There is no lock on it, and no means of locking it provided.
Then there is nothing to prevent a third class passenger who desires to do so passing in to the second class part of the boat? - Except the watchfulness of the stewards and men.

And again about the emergency doors which led from 'Scotland Road' (3rd Class) into 1st and 2nd Class territory:

I was going to ask you a question about the name “emergency door.” The very name “emergency door” suggests that it is ordinarily shut? - Yes.
How many of these emergency doors are there? - There are in all three, one to the forward first class main stairway. In each case they come from the working alleyway.
You mean Scotland Road? - From Scotland Road. There is one leading direct into the forward first class entrance from Scotland Road up on to the top, and then you can go on there; one from Scotland Road into the forward second class entrance, and one from Scotland Road into the after second class entrance.
How are these emergency doors shut? - With an ordinary handle, as far as I know, my Lord. They have means for locking them, but I understand they are not locked at sea.
They are not locked? - Not locked - I understand not. There is a lock on them, but I understand they are not locked at sea. I have frequently passed through them at sea.
What is the object of having a door there? - The passage is used by the third class passengers and crew extensively, and it is to prevent their being able to get in without continuously watching them. That was the intention. If you do not put doors there, or barriers of some sort, you would have to have somebody continuously stationed there to prevent people going into the second class accommodation and losing their way, for example.
Do the stewards use those doors? - I believe they do on the way from their own quarters to the accommodation of the passengers they have to attend to.
That is what I mean - passing from the place where they do their work to the place where they sleep, and so to speak live, they would have to use these doors? - I believe they would, my Lord.
So that they are being used daily? - Regularly, as I understand.

That is an account of normal procedures. It was company policy, and also a requirement of the Shipping Regulations, that doors which formed part of emergency evacuation routes should not be locked while a vessel was at sea. What mattered during the sinking of the Titanic was not the presence or absence of locks but rather the readiness of crew members to encourage or even allow passengers to pass through those gates and doors.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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But - but - butbutbutbutbut -

If you don't have locking gates on your Titanic sets, then you lose the obligatory scene of plucky Third Class passengers taking matters into their own hands and using a handy bench as a battering ram.

C'mon - this is Hollywood LAW we're talkin' here! :)
 

Jake Peterson

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So, the consensus of the thread so far sounds like the 3rd class weren't prevented from accessing the boats, they just needed to let 2nd and 3rd to wait their turn for access in the boats, but not actually knowing that there were only 20 boats available. Also in some cases, Stewarts thought that there were boats on the poop deck.

"Can we access the boats?"

"No, ma'am, there are boats on your own deck"
 

Bob Godfrey

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Jake, my point is that if the 3rd Class were prevented from going up to the boat deck (and for some time many of them certainly were) this was not by locked doors but by orders, instructions and no entry signs. By 'the watchfulness of the stewards and men' (ie crew), to use Wilding's words.

Yes indeed, Sandy. Hollywood (and Pinewood) Law operates quite independently of the Shipping Regulations!
 
Jan 6, 2005
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I think much of what went on with Third Class passengers is summed up in a movie not related to Titanic - Bill Condon's "Gods and Monsters." In it, James Whale (Sir Ian McKellen) says, "Every Englishman knows his place. And if you ever forget, there's always someone to remind you."

The lives of poor, working-class people centered around not questioning their so-called betters. In fact, very little good usually came of doing so - an idle complaint reaching the ears of the wrong person could put someone out of work with a bad reference, in one of the many towns where there was only one major employer. Unquestioning obedience as a social norm is a very foreign concept in our time, but back then, it was how many people got by.
 

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