The gym boasted rowing skiffs, stationary bikes, weights, punching bags, and Indian clubs. Open hours were different for men and women.
The RMS Titanic was thought to be unsinkable. A colossal feat of engineering, the famed ocean liner stunned the public. According to History, 100,000 people watched it set proverbial sail from the docks of Belfast on March 31, 1911.
Its infamous transatlantic voyage from the U.K. to New York in 1912 was cut short, however, when a fateful collision with an iceberg had it sink to the bottom of the ocean. For the four days between cheerful departure and harrowing survival attempts, it was a luxurious experience like no other.
While most remember the iconic 1997 film or the Titanic‘s colossal feat of engineering, details have been overshadowed and forgotten. Namely, the fact that the cruise liner boasted a fairly impressive gym for its time, which passengers used to stay in shape while at sea.
The Final Voyage Of The Titanic
The Titanic‘s transatlantic voyage began with a departure from Southampton on April 10, 1912. When it struck the sizable iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland, nothing could be done to reverse the ship’s fate. The Titanic would soon be gone forever — as would hundreds of people.
Within hours, the seemingly impossible happened. The whole in the ship’s hull allowed an overwhelming amount of water to enter, flooding too many compartments to prevent the ship’s end. With the tail rising slowly but steadily into the air, the luxury cruise ship snapped in half. All was lost.
The ensuing chaos led to over 1,500 deaths. Lifeboats departed without being properly filled, and civility came to a halt. Ultimately, there weren’t enough lifeboats to begin with. Before the tragic sinking, however, life on the Titanic was spellbinding.
With luxury cabins and dining rooms, every day became an opportunity to socialize, feast, and celebrate. Even the lower decks had their fun, with the entire ship exuberant at the prospect of arriving in America.
The gym has now been rotting in the depths for over 100 years, but it was once filled with enthusiastic passengers eager to stay in shape.
The Gym Of The Titanic
Traveling from Europe to America by ship wasn’t the fanciest of endeavors for lower class passengers. According to Mashable, however, that shipping route across the Atlantic was quite popular, particularly due to influx of European emigrants coming into the U.S.
For those who could spring for first-class cabins, fine food and recreational amenities were certainly on the menu. According to The Atlantic, the Titanic‘s gym — which featured rowing machines, stationary bikes and more — became so meaningful to physical educator Thomas McCauley that he stayed at his post when the ship sank.
The Titanic was intended to be more than a mere means of transportation. It was a physical behemoth that impressed upon its onlookers just how capable and advanced we’ve become as a civilization. Its very name, alongside claims of its unsinkability, were uttered with sincerity.
The gym included parallel bars, weights, punching bags, and Indian clubs. The stationary bikes were attached to large dials that provided users with an approximate distance they had virtually traveled. Making routine appointments to utilize this room and its personal trainers quickly became normal.
According to Rare Historical Photos, those who would engage in lengthy ocean voyage and pay top dollar to do so were usually accustomed to the luxuries of five-star hotels. The gym, and all other aspects of first-class travel aboard the Titanic, had to reflect that.
“I was up early before breakfast and met the professional racquet player in a half hour’s warming up for a swim in the six foot deep tank of saltwater heated to a refreshing temperature.” — Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic survivor.
The gym wasn’t the only refuge for needed exercise aboard the ship, as Turkish baths and squash courts were available to first-class passengers, as well.
It may be difficult to imagine, but the gym was open to men and women at different hours of the day. Women could use it between 9 a.m. and noon, while men were relegated to the hours between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Children, meanwhile, were only allowed between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Ultimately, no amount of stress-release or physical exertion could calm or prepare passengers enough for what occurred in the early morning of April 15, 1912. More than 1,500 passengers lost their lives that night, while the rest experienced trauma unimaginable to those who missed out on the trip.
Now, more than a whole century later, billionaire Australian mining magnate and politician Clive Palmer is funding the construction of Titanic 2. Hopefully, the sequel is more successful than its predecessor.
After learning about the Titanic’s luxurious first-class gym, take a look at 33 rare Titanic photos before and after the sinking. Then, learn about 5 astonishing sunken ships that are more interesting than the Titanic.