Where did the Victualling crew eat?


Riley Gardner
Jan 14, 2015
New Mexico, USA
I know the question has been asked before, but I have to take another aim at this. General narrative is that because this department didn't have a mess, they would go into the pantries and get whatever they could get.

Yet in "Guide to the Crew of the Titanic" by Gunter Babler, he mentions this may be more unlikely. To quote: "The Victualling Department made up around 56 percent of the total crew. That all workers of this section fed on the leftovers of the upper-class passengers is unthinkable, since in that case more high-value food would have had to be carried. It is possible that, after the passengers had dined, the crew took over the dining rooms and ate there, but that would have meant 'driving out' first-class passengers. This would leave one imagining crew members waiting outside the dining room ravenously hungry until it cleared. It is inconceivable that the saloons stewards waited to lay placed for the crew after a long day and, furthermore, there would have had to been separate crockery." (153).

He continues: "It is more probable that the Victualling Department (presumably in two groups one after the other) used the third-class dining room. That would make sense of having the meals prepared in third class, and in reality the crew's food would have resembled that of third class more than the higher classes. It would seem feasible that these large groups of staff had fixed mealtimes before or after the passengers, allowing the use of cheaper and more sturdy crockery, and nobody would have had been disturbed" (153).

Hence why I'm curious now. In addition close access to their quarters made this click in my mind. And it seems more logical than simply "getting what you can" from the pantries, especially if the kitchen staff were in the midst of work and had to stop to make meals for crew. And given a few hundred workers, it is likely that someone in that group would've not been eating regularly - which would bring down job performance and crew moral.

So if it was so important to add infrastructure to ensure literally every other department ate, WSL certainly saw that as important - but not important for the people in direct contact with the passengers? It seems unlikely, so letting crew eat in the Third Class Saloon makes sense to me. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
According to stewardess Violet Jessop, writing of Olympic, the stewards ate "standing in any available corner of a greasy pantry, amid steamy smells and nauseating, grease-strewn decks, eaten in the quickest possible time in order to get away."
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