1. The galley garbage was discharged overboard through steam-assisted chutes out of holes in the side of the hull.
2. Some people, wealthy enough to afford a first class ticket, travelled second class by choice because it was less of a hassle. They were not expected to change into full dress for supper, for instance!
3. First class passengers were called to meals by a bugler, second and third class by a gong. Didn’t hear it? No problem – the stewards walked around and reminded people of the meal times.
4. After third class breakfast, passengers were encouraged to go topside or to one of the recreation rooms so that the stewards could clean their accommodations. Sometimes this consisted of washing down the decks with a hose.
5. A steward on Titanic’s sister ship Olympic once related a story to an officer of the British Titanic Society, describing how he had to clean the mess up in the alleyways in third class as the passengers sometimes piddled outside the room rather than walk all the way to a loo.
6. There were two bathtubs for all of third class – one for men and one for women.
7. The ropes securing ships to docks often had round sliding rings attached to them to keep the rats from climbing on board.
8. Titanic’s cat was named Jenny and she had a litter of kittens in Belfast before Titanic left for Southampton. The story appeared in the Irish News Global Edition. A stoker named Mulholland worked on Titanic from Belfast to Southampton but was ‘influenced’ not to continue his voyage when he saw the ship’s cat carry each of her kittens down the gangplank onto the quay. He thought, ‘That cat knows something and has decided that the Titanic is no place for her or her family to spend their lives.’ According to Mulholland, he decided to follow the cat’s example and left the ship himself.
9. If you could pick Titanic up and put her on a scale when she left Southampton, she would have weighed 51,240 tons. If Titanic was fully loaded to her design specifications, she would have weighed 52,310 tons.
10. A prominent conspiracy theory claims that Titanic was in fact her sister ship Olympic – part of a scheme to swindle the insurance companies. The ‘switch theory’ suggests that severe, crippling damage to the Olympic caused by her collision with the Hawke was concealed after the court found that Olympic was responsible due to improper navigation. The White Star Line could not recover the cost of the repairs and was not covered by insurance, therefore Olympic was ‘switched’ with her new sister and deliberately sunk as the Titanic, for whom insurance claims would be paid. The scale of the issues that would have needed to be addressed to carry out this audacious plan is mind boggling.
With thanks to Bruce Beveridge and Steve Hall