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Great wealth, which some passengers in the First Class accommodation on the liner did indeed possess, could buy leisure and luxury in new and different ways, of which trans-Atlantic travel was just one. But as the Titanic set sail, their world was heading for an even greater disaster than the sinking of the liner.

In only just over two years time the First World War would sweep away millions of lives and shake the politics of their world to its foundations. As this enquiry reveals, not all the people of Europe, nor all the passengers on the Titanic, shared in this luxury. The fact that 11 million people were prepared to uproot themselves for an uncertain new life in America between and suggests that all was not well for many. They went to escape poverty, lack of political rights, religious persecution, nationalist bigotry, class prejudice.

The years up to the First World War were years of unrest and political ferment, as well as great wealth for a few. The immense contrast of life-styles on the Titanic reveals this. Using the source documents in this lesson, the pupils can find out about the passengers on the Titanic. Source 4 requires a little statistical skill. Both the table, and the figures for who was drowned and who survived could be displayed for analysis using ICT.

Survivors of the Titanic Survivors of the tragedy tell their stories of that fateful night. Patented textile pattern by Christopher Dresser. All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3. Skip to Main Content. Search our website Search our records. View lesson as PDF View full image.

Lesson at a glance. Who travelled on the fateful maiden voyage? Tasks 1. Look at Source 1. This is a list of passengers who were killed in the sinking. What clues are there from this list that this is the First Class passenger list, not the Third? Most of the people on this list do not have an occupation listed, why do you think this is? This list shows HJ Allison, his wife and his daughter.

We know that JJ Astor travelled with his wife Madeline, but she is not listed beside him. Look at Source 2. This is also a list of passengers killed in the sinking. In the distance they could hear the mournful tolling of bells. Survivor Edith Rosenbaum, who later changed her name to Russell, recalled that as she stepped off the ship and on to the pier she saw "thousands of people there" but heard not a sound, only "an intense silence, a silence of death The quiet of the scene was broken by cries and sobs All the time the bells kept tolling, and outside there was a cold drizzle of rain The cannonade of flashes from photographers' lamps as we went into the street seemed a cruelly inappropriate thing.


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It is at this point — when the Carpathia arrives in New York — that most accounts of the Titanic story end. Yet in many ways the Titanic is an ongoing narrative and today, as the th anniversary approaches, we remain as fascinated by the sinking and its aftermath as ever. Witnesses said that after the ship went down, the sea was as calm as a millpond.

But for survivors such as Madeleine Astor, Jack Thayer and Dorothy Gibson, and many others, the echoes of that night continued to reverberate throughout their lives, the memories refusing to die away. The Countess of Rothes, for example, recalled dining out with friends a year after the disaster when she "suddenly felt the awful felling of intense cold and horror" that she associated with her experience on the Titanic.

She realised that the orchestra was playing The Tales of Hoffman, the last music she had heard at dinner on the night of 14 April Disassociation was a common complaint, a feeling of disembodiment and disconnection, while in the years that followed, a total of 10 survivors went on to commit suicide. Today, it's likely that many of them would be diagnosed with "survivor syndrome", a condition that was not defined until the s and which is often marked by an overwhelming sense of guilt.

Writing in , Marjorie Dutton — who travelled aboard the Titanic as an eight-year-old girl in second-class — described how her life seemed to be blighted or cursed. I think my name was published at the time as having been drowned.


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  • The widowed heiress lost a fortune — and then her dignity after her second, abusive husband sold their story. Even those survivors who occupied privileged positions did not escape the Titanic's shadow. Eighteen-year-old Madeleine Astor was travelling on the liner with her husband, John Jacob Astor together, above , one of the richest men in the world.

    She had recently discovered she was pregnant and was returning home from her honeymoon in Egypt and Europe when she lost her husband in the disaster. As she disembarked the Carpathia in New York, one witness recalled: "I never saw a sadder face or one more beautiful, or anything braver. She would be eligible to benefit from the inheritance only if she remained unmarried for the rest of her life. Madeleine — a bride, a widow, an heiress and a mother all in the course of a single year — played the part of the grieving widow to perfection, until she decided to forego the huge fortune and marry a man she had known since childhood.

    She went on to have two sons with William Dick, yet by Madeleine was bored with her all-too-ordinary existence. Thanks to her second husband's wealth, she was more than comfortably off; but she had told her doctor, who always travelled with her, that the Titanic had "ruined her nerves" and, as a result, she regarded herself as something of an "invalid".

    In January , Madeleine booked a first-class cabin on the Vulcania, where she met the handsome Italian prize fighter, Enzo Fiermonte. The boxer — whose name translated as "fiery mountain" — became infatuated by her wealth and, although both were already married and had children, the couple embarked on a messy, toxic relationship.

    After their own marriage — which took place in November in a New York hospital after Madeleine broke her arm during a scuffle with Fiermonte — the couple caused an international scandal when they travelled to Italy. When he stepped on to Italian soil, the police seized Fiermonte's documents, as he had avoided compulsory military service while living in America, then the authorities impounded his passport.

    One lawyer told Madeleine that, as Italy did not recognise Fiermonte's divorce from his first wife, she "might face a sentence of from one to five years for participating in bigamy". Mussolini himself disapproved of Fiermonte's behaviour — "when he [Fiermonte] went to America he acted in a way Italy cannot approve", said a spokesman.

    By the time the situation was smoothed out — with the help of a generous settlement for Fiermonte's first wife and son — the couple began to fight so violently that Madeleine's body was covered in bruises. According to court records, "Once he broke her wrist, and on another occasion he broke her ribs. She was frequently left bedfast by his attacks Their final separation was late last year [] when Fiermonte beat her senseless. Then, a year later, she experienced a betrayal worse than any barbed insult or petty infidelity: Fiermonte sold the story of their marriage to the vulgar True Story magazine.

    Claiming to stand as "one of the most startling and illuminating commentaries on life among the idle rich ever written", the serialisation over the course of three months devastated Madeleine. Her reputation ruined, she felt depressed, almost suicidal. And after hearing of the death of her mother, in August , she became increasingly dependent on prescription drugs. On 27 March , she died at the age of While the official cause of death was heart failure, it was rumoured that she had taken an overdose of sleeping pills.

    Fiermonte — who went on to fulfill his dream of becoming an actor — later said of his former wife that, "She carried her doubts with her always, like her pearls. In many respects, Jack Thayer seemingly personified the word "survivor". In the Titanic's final moments, the year-old, who'd been travelling in first-class with his parents, waited until the ship had almost submerged before he jumped from a rail into the sea. Thayer had lost his father in the disaster, but bore his grief with dignity and honour, and after returning to America with his mother, Marian, another Titanic survivor, he attempted to resume his life as though nothing had happened.

    By , the couple had announced their engagement and, on 15 December of that year, they married in Philadelphia. The following September, John, the first of their six children was born one died in infancy from Spanish flu. Yet Jack was not there to see the birth of his first and favourite son, as he was fighting in France.

    On the Meuse-Argonne front, he would have witnessed death on a mass scale. In those days, a man did not talk about his feelings.

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    In fact, nobody really talked about emotions at all. It just wasn't done. After a career in banking, in Jack accepted a job as treasurer of the University of Pennsylvania; and then, in , he was promoted to the position of financial vice-president. By all accounts he led a busy, active, seemingly happy and fulfilled life.

    Looking back, it is curious that he should want to go on frozen water after what he had been through with the Titanic. Of course, at the time I thought nothing of this, as he never, ever mentioned the disaster.

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    He was not afraid of water, and loved to swim, but he never sailed and would never go on an ocean liner. As Thayer's children began to approach the age he had been when he took that fateful voyage, Jack began to think about how to deal with his memories of the Titanic — images, conversations, emotions, fears he had kept to himself for nearly 30 years. The disaster, he wrote, "not only made the world rub its eyes and awake, but woke it with a start, keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since, with less and less peace, satisfaction, and happiness".

    In many ways, the event became symbolic of the modern age itself: an overture that served as a prelude to a century of disquiet and disorder. After writing his account of the sinking, Jack tried to contain his recollections of the Titanic. Yet a messy spillage of fragmented memories began to emerge from the depths. Could the act of remembrance — and its subsequent expression in words — have triggered this new wave of "nervous emotion"?

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    Had the articulation of past events, an act he had assumed would result in the calming of the sea of memory, made the situation worse? Whatever the reason, Thayer — respectable, honourable, extrovert, fun-loving, seemingly well-rounded as he was — began to experience an anxiousness that would not leave him, and the strength he had shown to the world over the past 30 or so years began to slip away.

    Everything seemed to be connected to that night; whatever he did, the Titanic was always there at the edge of his consciousness, taunting him. In October , he learnt the news that his year-old son, Second Lieutenant Edward Cassatt, a co-pilot of an American bomber, had been killed in action in the Pacific.

    The thought of his son's plane plunging into water forced the sinking of the Titanic to the front of his consciousness again. Then, just six months later, his mother, who had been ill with a heart condition for a year, died, aged The double loss was hard enough to bear, but the date — 14 April — was the strange thing, as Marian had died all but on the 32nd anniversary of the Titanic disaster.

    Eventually, it seems he suffered a nervous breakdown. My mother sought medical help for him, but one day he slipped away from watchful eyes. On the morning of 18 September , year-old Jack Thayer left his office at the University of Pennsylvania and drove through the streets of Philadelphia. Second class: staterooms Those traveling in second class would have enjoyed facilities that were similar to first class on other liners. Most of the second class cabins had bunk bed style sleeping. These cabins were comfortable for the time and often had a writing desk or a small sofa as well as beds.

    Second class: elevators Elevators for first class passengers were surprisingly lavish, often with a sofa for guests to recline on. Second class passengers also had access to elevators which would have been like this one from the Olympic. Although not as extravagant as those for first class, they still saved passengers the effort of having to climb the stairs between decks. Steerage: dining room Compared to other ships, life in steerage third class on the lower decks was comfortable for its time.

    The dining salon had white enameled walls and tables were communal, meaning little privacy for passengers. Pictured is the dining room on the Olympic. Steerage: staterooms Steerage third class class passengers often slept in four- or six-berth cabins which housed either families or single sex passengers.

    This replica shows the size of a four-berth cabin which might have been shared by strangers. Although there were lots of toilets available for steerage passengers, there were only two baths available — one for men and one for women. Steerage: smoking room Third class communal spaces had a simple, elegant feel.

    For example this smoking room included wooden benches and chairs, plus a titled floor. It's likely this image is from the Olympic. Frederick Fleet, the Titanic's lookout, was one of the first to spot the iceberg, raising the alarm with the words "iceberg right ahead". Frederick was relying on his eyes only as the Titanic's binoculars were locked away in the crow's nest. To the lifeboats The Titanic's captain, Captain Smith, ordered the watertight doors to be shut but over feet of the ship was opened to the sea and within three hours she had sunk.

    There were just 20 lifeboats onboard, enough for around 1, crew and passengers. Priority boarding of the lifeboats was given to women and children, with a much greater percentage of first class passengers saved than those in steerage.

    Titanic: 103 years later, Passenger Stories Continue to Haunt Us

    Carpathia to the rescue While the Titanic sent multiple distress signals it was Cunard's ship Carpathia which came to the rescue of survivors. However, the Carpathia couldn't reach the scene until 4am, four hours and 20 minutes after the Titanic struck the iceberg.

    It took a further four hours to get survivors from the lifeboats onto the Carpathia. The unlucky Carpathia met her own terrible end too, sinking during the First World War after being torpedoed by a German U-boat.

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    Survivors on the Carpathia In total 1, of the 2, people onboard perished, with people surviving. It was the Titanic's crew who took the biggest hit: of staff, were from Southampton in the UK, and only returned. The iceberg that sank the Titanic? This picture was taken from the Carpathia of the iceberg that it's believed the Titanic struck.

    The Titanic was traveling through an ice pack that consisted of larger bergs such as the one pictured, and smaller formations called 'growlers'. Everyone saved? Several newspapers at the time reported the Titanic was safe and that all passengers were alive, with the ship being towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The horrible truth wouldn't be fully reported until nearly 48 hours after the Titanic struck the iceberg.