Titanic steerage passengers


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PETER GRAINGER

Guest
We know how the first class were treated on the Titanic but what about the poor,how did they live on the voyage,what was there food like and why were so many of the steerage passengers lost is it true as the film shows ,that the steerage passengers where kept below decks until the first and second passengers were put in life boats.
if you can answer any of these questions please do

thank you
 
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Ashley Maher

Guest
peter,
They got the same kind of food as the First class(at least thats what I think!!)When it came to the sinking they did'nt get to go on because all they cared about was the first class just because they had more money!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Peter and Ashley, as far as food was concerned you got what you paid for, and while the Third Class menus offered good nourishment they bore no comparison to what was served to First Class passengers. You can read about the food and lots of other aspects of what it was like to be a passenger on the Titanic in the 'Life on Board' section of this message board.

Ashley, the officers who loaded the lifeboats on Titanic had no instructions to check the passenger's bank statements, only their age and gender - it was strictly women and children (of all classes) first. It's true that some passengers were kept out of lifeboats at gunpoint - but only because they were men, not because they hadn't paid enough for their tickets.

Third Class passengers weren't kept locked below decks - they were free to go up and any remaining barriers were nothing more substantial than a garden gate, but their biggest problem was that few of the crew did much to help them find their way to the boats, which could be reached only by going through the First and Second Class areas which were unfamiliar to them. Many of the Third Class passengers found their own routes, and the women and children found places in lifeboats. Others, including some very large families, just waited patiently for instructions or orders which never came.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Lester Mitcham's article on 'The Statistics of the Disaster' makes very interesting reading:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/articles/statistics_mitcham.shtml

Ashley, you will see from the figures given there that two thirds of the First Class male passengers died, and that the proportion of Third Class males who got away in lifeboats was considerably higher than those in Second Class, who paid twice as much for their tickets.

Peter, I see that was your first post, so welcome to ET. Always good to see another retired gentleman here!
 
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Trent Pheifer

Guest
I have heard hundreds of times that Titanic's third class area and food wasn't the nicest. But it was some of the best accomodations and food many of the third class passengers had ever had. Many came from homes with dirt floors and no flushing toilets. In fact for many, their trip on Titanic was the first time they had seen flushing toilets. Like Bob said you will find tons of information in the "Life on Board" section. Ditto to what Bob said about the sinking too.

-Trent
 
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Ashley Maher

Guest
f you want books based on Titanic then go to " Barnes 'n' Nobles. They have some good books.
 
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Ashley Maher

Guest
I would give anything to go down there and see the Titanic.even a million dollars!!would'nt you?? I mean it would be worth the money to see titanic. But I bet I will never ever see Titanic.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Ashley, you're quite new to the message board so I hope you'll appreciate some advice from someone who's been here a bit longer. Each thread has its own title and that will tell you the subject matter for that thread. This one was started for questions and information about steerage passengers. If you want to post messages about other subjects there are other threads better suited, where you are more likely to find people who want to talk about those subjects. That's the way it works best. Enjoy!
 

John Lynott

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Apr 2, 2002
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Has anybody else commented - possibly on earlier threads - about the 'mobility' of the third class passengers? Simplified renditions of the Titanic story tend to lump the third class passengers as poverty-stricken Europeans heading for the New World in just the clothes they stood in and few meagre possessions. However, many were planning to buy farms and businesses, and others - such as Rosa Abbott and family and the Rices had made the transatlantic crossing both ways a few years earlier. If you study the addresses of the third class passengers you find quite a few already bearing US ones. Many of course left Europe in the years before the Great War 'never to see their homes again', but there was a great deal of 'coming home' as well. Just a thought
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Good point, John. The 'huddled masses' of traditional steerage belonged largely to another age and were equivalent more to the displaced persons or economic migrants of more recent times. Many of Titanic's Third Class passengers were travelling as the conclusion of carefully considered plans for a better future, or returning from visits to family and friends 'in the old country'. Some could almost be considered as commuters, like Ted Beane, a bricklayer who spent half of each year in the US and half in England. Just once, on the Titanic, Ted stretched his savings to cover the cost of Second Class tickets for himself and his new bride Ethel, because the crossing was also their honeymoon.
 

John Lynott

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Thanks Bob, for the pointer to the Beane story, there's such a wealth of information aboard ET. Interesting to think that the extra £10 they spent to travel second class must have been some financial sacrifice in it's day. And they got away in Boat 13, along with its high proportion of third class passengers...and they say 13 is an unlucky number!
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Another point about the third class passengers is that almost all had relations or friends already in the US. When the third class survivors landed in New York, the authorities carefully made sure that none of them were just going to be dumped in the USA and left to fend for themselves. The immigration records show that very few needed assistance.

Ted Beane's £10 was about one month's wages for a skilled worker at the time. Bricklayers were often paid so much per hundred bricks laid and an expert could do very nicely if he could get regular work.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Worth noting also that the traditional division into 'cabin (or saloon) class' and steerage had by 1912 evolved into 5 distinct levels of quality - First, Second, Third, 'new' steerage and 'old' steerage. The last category, which still existed in particular on the German liners, had improved little in standards over the past 40 years and was the cause of considerable concern among reformers. Titanic's Third Class passengers were the elite of economy travellers and the pioneers of what became 'tourist class'.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I wonder when steerage finally died out. Out local maritime museum has a photo of emigrants travelling to Australia in the late 1940s in an old-style steerage. It make third class on Titanic look luxurious. And they had six weeks of it!
 
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David Haisman

Guest
Hi Dave,

I was serving on the Royal Mail ship, ''Alcantara'' back in 1956 and we carried Spannish emigrants from Vigo to South America, calling in first at the Canary Islands and then on to Beunos Aires, Montivedeo, Recife,and Santos.
I did write a thread on here some time ago regarding the closed gates seperating the 3 classes on board.
They were well looked after, the menus catering for their usual fare and they always had huge carafes of red wine on their dining tables.
As Able Seamen in those days it was our job to get the barrels of ''vino calapso'' out of the hatches when they ran dry. We very often found a barrel with a ''loose bung'' would you believe, and had to sample it to make sure it was up to standard before replacing same.
This was known onboard as the ''singalong job'' and needless to say, there were plenty of volunteers!

It wasn't many years later when this emigrant service ended although Royal Mail did well out of it with a full ship each voyage.

All the best,

David
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hi Bob,

In passing I note that Titanic's Certificates of Clearance refer to two Passenger Classes: Cabin Passengers and Steerage Passengers.

Lester
 

Bob Godfrey

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Quite true, Lester. This reflected the distinction in terms of legislation - notably the American immigration controls at that time. The reality of the situation can be seen in the 1911 report of the US Senate's Immigration Commission, which sought changes in the legislation and recognised three sub-divisions - old steerage, new steerage and, at the upper end of the 'new', an emerging third class which 'followed very closely the plan of the second-cabin arrangements'. The Commission had this to say about 'old' steerage:

'Considering this old-type steerage as a whole, it is a congestion so intense, so injurious to health and morals that there is nothing on land to equal it. That people live in it only temporarily is no justification of its existence. The experience of a single crossing is enough to change bad standards of living to worse. It is abundant opportunity to weaken the body and emplant there germs of disease to develop later. It is more than a physical and moral test; it is a strain. And surely it is not the introduction to American institutions that will tend to make them respected'.

The Commission recommended the total abolition of the 'old' steerage in favour of the new:

'There is nothing striking in what this new-type steerage furnishes. On general lines it follows the plans of the accommodations for second-cabin passengers. The one difference is that everything is simpler proportionately to the difference in the cost of passage. Unfortunately the new type of steerage is to be found only on those lines that carry emigrants from the north of Europe. The number of these has become but a small per cent of the total influx. Legislation, however, may complete what competition began'.
 

mandi bailey

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Jan 14, 2005
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As far as the food in 3rd class goes, I have read that the food was some of the best most 3rd-class passengers had ever had. While it was not as fancy as 1st class, it was filling and healthy. Personally I dont think the 3rd class passengers were stopped from going up-top while the boats were being filled, but I believe that different languages henderd many from understanding what was going on.
Best of luck, Mandi
 
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Karen Karpinski

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Can anyone help me find some information on Shedid Daher? I live about 5 mins from the cemetary where he is buried and I know he has no gravemarker and the records were lost in a fire. There has to be a way to find him...
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Not much is known. He was 22 and came from Abrin, a small farming community in what is now the north of Lebanon but was then part of Syria. He was unmarried, and travelling to join his mother Zana at Kulpmont, near Mount Carmel.

On 21 April, after 6 days in the water, his body was one of the first to be recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett. He was dressed in a grey suit and carrying nothing of value - a handkerchief, a small mirror, a hair brush, a pencil, a few coins in a purse, and a health certificate from which he was identified.

His body was taken to Halifax in Nova Scotia, but rather than have him buried there with the other victims (in which case he would at least have had a grave marker) his mother chose to have his body forwarded to Mount Carmel. She later made a claim against the White Star Line for $10,000 in compensation, but probably the largest amount the family received was the $200 sent from England by the Titanic Relief Fund.
 

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