Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tools of the Trade: Titanic Provisions

I've avoided addressing the 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the White Star luxury liner RMS Titanic, which came and went on Sunday, here at Triple P. If I’m honest, I don’t believe in romanticizing sloppy seamanship that, when push came to shove, degenerated into murder.

All that said, I did find this interesting tidbit in Peter H. Spectre’s 2010 The Mariner’s Book of Days which gave me pause. If no other thing makes you realize just how many souls suffered on that fateful night in 1912, the list of provisions from Titanic’s maiden and final voyage certainly does:

Fresh meat: 75,000 lbs
Fresh fish: 11.000 lbs
Salt and dried fish: 4,000 lbs
Bacon and ham: 7,500 lbs
Poultry and game: 25,000 lbs
Fresh eggs: 40,000 lbs
Sausages: 2,500 lbs
Sweetbreads: 1,000 lbs
Ice cream: 1,750 qts
Coffee: 2,200 lbs
Tea: 800 lbs
Rice, dried beans, etc.: 10,000 lbs
Sugar: 10,000 lbs
Flour: 200 barrels
Cereals: 10,000 lbs
Oranges: 36,000
Lemons: 16,000
Hothouse grapes: 1,000 lbs
Fresh milk: 1,500 gallons
Fresh cream: 1,200 qts
Condensed milk: 600 gallons
Fresh butter: 6,000 lbs
Grapefruit: 50 boxes
Lettuce: 7,000 heads
Tomatoes: 2.75 tons
Fresh asparagus: 800 bundles
Fresh green peas: 2,250 lbs
Onions: 3,500 lbs
Potatoes: 40 tons
Jam and marmalade: 1,120 lbs
Beer and stout: 20,000 bottles
Wine: 1,500 bottles
Mineral water: 15,000 bottles
Spirits: 850 bottles

From this list, it is easy to speculate as far as the wide differences in diet from first class to steerage.  While some of those lemons and oranges may have been doled out to Third Class, it's certain they never saw a hot house grape just as First Class saw very little - aside from the occasional kipper - of those dried fish or beans.

Header: White Star Line poster c 1911


Capt. John Swallow said...

That's an awful lot o'...well, EVERYTHING!

As a comparison, here's a smaller list - though plenty enough given how much smaller the vessel is!

Partial list of stores loaded aboard an English privateer at the Irish provisioning port of Kinsale in 1708:

Four Barrells of Beefe
Four Hogsheads of Pork
Eighty two ferkins of Butter
Six hundred weight of Cheese
Eighteen Butts of Beere
Three Boxes of Soape
Fourteen Boxes of Candles
Twelve Barrells of Oatmeale
Three Hogsheads of Vinegar
Six Pieces of Canvas for Hammocks
Fourty Beds
Fourty Pillows
Fourty Rugs
Fifty Red Coats
One hundred and fifty Capps
Four Casks of Tallow
Six hors hydes
Three Sole Leather hydes
One earthen Oven
Twelve dozen Stockings
One hundred weight of Corke

Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! You're alive! Welcome back. I hope you are feeling better today.

The greatest tragedy here to me is all that beer and stout (and wine) lost forever...


Pauline said...

That is an excellent comparison when you look at it, Captain; thankee. Titanic was certainly the first such provisioned ship on the high seas, but by no means the last.

And Timmy!, if only the crew had passed some of those spirits on to the poor people they locked up down in third class. It might have made their forced drowning a bit less miserable... But probably not.