The Luxurious Gym Of The Doomed RMS Titanic

Published December 29, 2013
Updated October 7, 2019

The gym boasted rowing skiffs, stationary bikes, weights, punching bags, and Indian clubs. Open hours were different for men and women.

Titanic Gym

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.

First Class Lounge Of The Titanic

Universal Images Group/Getty ImagesFor those who could afford it, a first-class experience aboard the Titanic was fairly extravagant. With fine dining, lounges, and impressive amenities like the gym, the trip certainly seemed worth the cost.

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.

Titanic At Belfast Harbor

Ulster Folk & Transport MuseumThe RMS Titanic, departing Belfast for Southampton, before its fateful voyage halfway across the Atlantic.

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.

Titanic Docked At Southampton

EPAThe Titanic left Southampton Harbor on April 10, 1912. It sank on the 15h of April, after a mere four days of commercial use. Southampton, England. April, 1912.

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.

Rms Titanic Gym

Wikimedia CommonsThe gym included rowing machines, parallel bars, weights, stationary bicycles, and more.

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.

Cycle Racing Machines Of The Titanic Gym

Universal Images Group/Getty ImagesThe “cycle racing machines” allowed passengers to simulate biking for long distances. Technology has since improved, but the experience was largely the same even then.

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.

Titanic Gym With Racing Skiff

Universal Images Group/Getty ImagesThe mechanically-worked saddle allowed passengers to exercise “as if in a racing skiff.” Little did passengers know that only a few days into the voyage, some would be rowing away from the sinking, colossal ship.

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.

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