On Board Titanic

• The cost of a first-class ticket on Titanic to New York was $2,500, approximately $57,200 today. The most expensive rooms were more than $103,000 in today’s currency.

• A third-class ticket on Titanic cost $40, which is approximately $900 in today’s currency. Up to 10 people resided in third-class rooms. The rooms were divided by male and female often splitting families.

• First-class passengers had the luxury of paying for their leisure while on board: a ticket to the swimming pool cost 25¢, while a ticket for the squash court (as well as the services of a professional player) cost 50¢.

• Sixty chefs and chefs’ assistants worked in Titanic’s five kitchens. They ranged from soup and roast cooks to pastry chefs and vegetable cooks. There was a kosher cook, too, to prepare the meals for the Jewish passengers.

Titanic had its own newspaper, the Atlantic Daily Bulletin, prepared aboard the ship. In addition to news articles and advertisements, it contained a daily menu, the latest stock prices, horse-racing results, and society gossip.

• There were only two bathtubs for the more than 700 third-class passengers aboard the ship.

• The forward part of the boat deck was promenade space for first-class passengers and the rear part for second-class passengers. People from these classes thus had the best chance of getting into a lifeboat simply because they could get to them quickly and easily.

Disaster Strikes

• Even if all 20 lifeboats had been filled to capacity, there would only have been room in them for 1,178 people.

• At first most of the passengers did not believe Titanic was really sinking, hence the low number of 19 aboard the first lifeboat, even though it could carry 65.

Titanic was one of the first ships in distress to send out an “SOS” signal; the radio officer used “SOS” after using the traditional code of “CQD” (All stations: distress) followed by the Ship’s call letters.

• Dorothy Gibson, a 28-year-old silent screen actress, was the resident movie star on Titanic. She would later star in "Saved from the Titanic", a movie made one month after the disaster. Her costume was the dress she wore on the night of the sinking.

• Tennis player R. Norris Williams and his father, Charles D., felt it was too cold to remain out on deck as the Ship went down, so they went into the gym to ride the exercise bikes.

• At the time of Titanic’s destruction, the temperature of the water was only 28°F (-2°C). Most of those struggling in the water in their life jackets would have succumbed to hypothermia, while others may have had heart attacks.

The Aftermath

• Initial headlines of Titanic's disaster claimed all passengers survived and the Ship was being towed to land.

• The White Star Line was not blamed for Titanic’s sinking because the Board of Trade feared that this would result in lawsuits that would hurt the line’s profits, damage the reputation of British shipping, and cause thousands of customers to switch to German or French liners.

• No skeletons remain at the wreck site. Any bodies carried to the seabed with the wreck were eaten by fish and crustaceans.

• In the 1898 novel "Futility", written 14 years before the sinking of Titanic, Morgan Robertson penned a fictitious tale about a ship named Titan, which collide with an iceberg. Some of the uncanny similarities between the book and Titanic's disaster include the month (April), the length of the ship (Titanic 882.5 feet, Titan 800 feet), and the number of passengers on board (Titanic 2,200; Titan 2000).

Melbourne Museum

14 May 2010 - 7 November 2010

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