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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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1st Class passengers promenade on Olympic’s A Deck. Author’s collection.

Promenading - 1st Class passengers promenade on Olympic’s A Deck.
Daniel Klistorner collection

Deck chairs. Peter Davies-Garner collection.

Olympic’s starboard side A Deck, with deck chairs neatly folded and placed against the deckhouse bulkheads at day’s end. Peter Davies-Garner collection

Deck Benches. Author’s collection.

Deck Benches - A close-up of the deck benches on Olympic’s Poop Deck.
Author’s collection

White Star Line Advertising Poster. Author’s collection.

   Introduction - During Titanic’s era, 1st Class public rooms were increasingly decorated to new and higher standards of opulence. But as richly appointed as some of the public rooms were, it was the staterooms and suites where the passengers could truly appreciate the comfort and luxury of their floating hotel. These consisted of every style of furnishing, and in the utmost taste and most exquisite richness of design . . . In the very best staterooms bunk-style berths were unknown; beds as were seen on land were the rule.

   The conveniences for a well-to-do family traveling were astonishing by previous shipboard standards. Communicating doors would give access to two or three bedrooms as well as a private bath room with a lavatory. Even a small sitting room could be had, and was no doubt appreciated by those who liked their breakfast before they dressed for the morning
. . . (continued)


Image above, White Star Line Advertising Poster - This advertisement was directed toward emigrant passengers.
Author’s collection

   Purser’s Office and Enquiry Office - The ship’s Chief Purser was in charge of the ship’s general administration, and was for all intents and purposes the onboard accountant, business manager and chief clerk. He and his assistants filled out passenger and freight manifests, crew lists and discharge books, and attended to other important matters of bookkeeping. Aboard Titanic, the position of Chief Purser was handled by Hugh R. W. McElroy, of 13 years experience with the White Star Line. It was essential that the Chief Purser be intimately familiar with the ship and all aboard her, as he essentially functioned as the senior hotel manager. After the Captain, he may very well have been the most well-known person on board, and passengers expected to approach him with any question, concern, or request. In this capacity, he had to be able to handle all inquiries, resolve any problems, and see to it that any unusual requests were promptly and satisfactorily fulfilled . . . (continued)


   Promenading - Promenading was as much a social activity as for exercise and fresh air. It was de rigueur for 1st Class passengers, and was as much about being seen as it was to see other people. The Promenade Deck, being sheltered and entirely reserved for 1st Class, was the most popular for promenading and enjoying the outdoor air in deck chairs (this deck was wide enough to permit promenading without tripping over the deck chairs arranged along the bulkheads). Overhead battens were fitted at the deck head, on which were marked numbers corresponding to numbered brass plates fastened to the chairs themselves. These numbers indicated the location of each individual chair, and saved the passengers the trouble of finding their chairs when they were covered with blankets, or “steamer rugs.” The teak deck chairs, or “steamer chairs,” were hired at a cost of $1.00 or 4s each, and were reserved before the beginning of the voyage, or from the Enquiry Office after the ship was at sea. . . (continued)


   Class restrictions - One myth that persists to this day is that of locked gates extending from floor-to-ceiling between the 3rd Class areas and the rest of the ship. It must be noted that there is no evidence, either documented or from the wreck, that any such barriers existed. Although segregation of emigrants was required by United States Immigration laws in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, this was accomplished far more by existing social barriers than any other means. Bostwick gates and other physical forms of separation were in place at various locations throughout the vessel, but their primary purpose was to clearly mark points through which 3rd Class passengers could not pass, as many could not read. Gates were not intended, nor were they constructed, as a means of forcible confinement or physical restriction. . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter include:
Boarding passengers - 1st and 2nd Class embarkation - “Steerage” passengers - 3rd Class embarkation - Health Inspections - Music - Hours of operation - Amusements - Promenade decks - Prelude to chapters that follow

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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