2nd Class Staterooms were located on upper deck starboard and main deck aft of the engine casing and right back to the stern. The staterooms were definitely a step above the 3rd class accommodations from the galvanized iron bed frames and not much privacy, 2nd class was definitely middle class. 2nd Class passengers could also move about freely from main deck up to shelter deck were they could wine and dine in the 2nd class dining saloon, enjoy a night of entertainment in the social room or if the gentlemen preferred they could retire to the smoking room at the stern of the ship. If the sea was calm the 2nd class passengers could sit out on the shelter deck for a breath of fresh sea air.
Unlike the 3rd class cabins which were plain but moderately comfortable, you would know the different if you had walked into a 2nd class stateroom. In the stateroom below you would see a dresser with a mirror center dead center on the top. To your left side you would see two bunk beds with a foot step for easy access to your orient mattresses, watch pockets placed on the walls where gentlemen could place his pocket watch when he retired for bed. Two wooden lead boards half way down the length of both beds to prevent passengers from falling out as the Empresses would roll and pitch in rough seas. Individual curtains for each bunk bed had also been provided to close out most of the light if one of the other passengers they had been travelling with decided to stay up longer. There was also electric bell switches on both sides of the dresser, where the passenger could ring for their steward without leaving the comfort of their stateroom.
On the right side was a sofa bed which was used as either a sofa or another bed with hat or cap hooks above it. Beside the sofa was a wardrobe which was the height of the door. It had two drawers on the bottom and a good size mirror on the front door which opened a cabinet. A green curtain was pulled over to one side to allow free passage into the stateroom, at night the curtain could be closed to reduce the noise from other passengers and to block out the light from the passageways.
Between upper and main deck there was 468 2nd class passengers. On main deck there had been 5 toilets and 3 baths for the ladies. For the gentlemen there had been 3 baths, 6 toilets and 2 urinals. On upper deck there were 5 baths, 8 toilet and 5 urinals for the gentlemen. The ladies had 3 baths and 5 toilets. Higher the class, the less passengers and definitely a lot more lavatories and baths.
Shop drawing left hand side 2nd class stateroom on the Empress of Ireland.
Location: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering, Govan, Scotland
Credits: Glasgow City Libraries and Archives
2nd Class Accommodations
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