Classic Liners: Glory Hole Steward

25th July 2011, 21:45
Pronounced "Glory'l". Job description, anyone? How many would a liner like the "Aquitania" have? How did their supervision/management hierarchy work?

26th July 2011, 15:43
Pronounced "Glory'l". Job description, anyone? How many would a liner like the "Aquitania" have? How did their supervision/management hierarchy work?

Glory hole stewards job was the cleaning of crew quarters abard passenger ships. Remember them from my couple of passie boats way back in the 1950s,Maloja,Orcades couple ofCastle boats. "Think" it would have been abour four per ship but not certain.They were on to a good thing though as they always expecting dropping (tipping) from stewards accommodation at least. I would guess they came under the direction of the 2nd Steward.Remember in those days there were daily inspections.

26th July 2011, 17:54
Thanks, Stuart. Four per ship is a surprise; I would have guessed at more. One more query: what was the Job Title as per the Seaman's Discharge Book, or on the Crew List?

27th July 2011, 00:05
discharge would of been Ast steward i would think

27th July 2011, 10:12
Thanks, Stuart. Four per ship is a surprise; I would have guessed at more. One more query: what was the Job Title as per the Seaman's Discharge Book, or on the Crew List?

Hi, Like Dom said above seems right,other alternative was Utility Steward. . My saying four was just an estimated guess and of course depended on ship/crew size. I see the Aquitania mentioned by you built 1913 scra pped 1950 carried about 3200 passengers in three classes but two thirds of that number was 3rd class. I see Queen Mary crew was around 1000 in those days. The glory hole stewards cleaned crew accommodation possibly ten bunks to cabin and tin locker for each man,they made their dropsy (tips) by making the beds.

27th July 2011, 11:21
Was on The "Mauretania" in the "PIT" accomadtion Block 1962, 12 berth rooms (AND defitly not with a VIEW!)The Glory Hole Steward always had a Pot of Tea on a Table in the Alley way on a table with Cups or Mugs First thing of a morning when you turned too. I would reckon easy 10 on a big Passenger ship with Daily Inspection you would have to move your self and that would include the Showers and Toilet's and Alley Way's,did they have them For the Deck hands and Fireman? must have.

27th July 2011, 11:36
even the deck boys on the Stirling Castle had a peggy,was lined up on the well deck and numbered off, bosun chippy,bosuns mates ,etc,bridge boys. last in the line was deck boys peggy,had their own acommodation at the end of the ab.s and os allyway,inspection every day,bosun and chippy got their food from the passengers gally,along the working allyway for the days bread sugar tea etc,look out for the silver king always tried to get you in his locker,pig at night,great times,been there seen that

27th July 2011, 13:38
Great stuff! Keep it coming! My grandfather was a GHS but he died in 1950. Just before my grandmother died at 90, she burnt all his British Army mementos, including pre WW1 Indian photos including elephants and his Western Front photos, plus his Disharge Books and Seaman's Identity Card because "nobody will be interested". He was away at sea from the twenties until his death and spent much of WW2 in the Aquitania. BTW the "Utity Steward" post makes sense.

27th July 2011, 14:39
What a shame, Johno - I can see that happening to my few momentos one day. We're in good company though, Captain Cook's wife did the same thing!

John T

28th July 2011, 00:23
Hello There,
I got this book About the "Titanic'about 1975 printed in 1970 For $1.50 obviosly before th Movie ,Brilliant infomation gives the Deck plans of the Accomadation which willl held you "JOHNO" FIRE MEN 2 Berthx54 "MEN",24x2 TRIMMERS,44 SEAMEN,53 FIREMEN F.Deck,30 GREASERS,15 LEADING FIREMEN,
CATERING, 42, 2nd Class Stewards,28 .Saloon Stewards,24,1st ClassStewards,24,1st Class,Stewards,20 Plate Washers,15,Cooks,
8,Bakers.PLUS A FEW SMALLER Berths for Leading Hands
The Firemens Berths were right up against "The ChainLocker in the Focecastle Head The Seamen were Further back suppose the Firemen were well down the list!! Most probly change there socks and long johns on the way home and doubt they were all spashing "OLD SPICE" all over the Place( I jest I have a lot of Admiration for the Fellers who Sailed in them Days!)
Intrestingly was the Passenger Accomadation ,Single Berth,2,3,4,6,8, and10 Plus 2 Third Class Open Berth which may have had looks like space for over 50?,
I was on the Q.Elizabeth 1962 In the Kitchen was in a 4 Berth berth it was well aft above the Screws I suppose some fellers would have gone for a 6/8 berth room for less vibration amidshps (UNLESS YOU WERE ON A CASTLE BOAT WITH 2 IN A BUNK COULD HAVE BEEN HANDY!!!)
This is Just a Rough List if you want the proper one let me know.

28th July 2011, 19:23
Thanks ecb. I have "Titanic and her sisters Olmpic and Britannic". I remember reading a book called "No Paradise" many years ago. It was written by a catering crew member with Orient Line in the 50s. My dad joined the QE c 1950 as a butcher. I think he initially was in an 8 berth cabin. He was with Cunard for over 25 years and finished as Chief Butcher on the Carmania. In his early days with Cunard, one of his butcher coleagues was a survivor from the Lusitania.

alan ward
10th October 2011, 11:33
I was on the Empress of Enland in `67 sharing a cabin with Ray the butcher.Our Glory Hoile steward was a lovely bloke,always there with a brew,woke us up and did a great job on the accomodation he did need a dropsy but there you go that was the way of it.Ray used to make me laugh with his stories with hindsgiht I`m sorry I didn`t stay longer but those short trips really p====ed me off,you spent all your time saying goodbye and then home for 24 hours.

Stephen J. Card
10th October 2011, 12:56
I have the Staff Captain's Trials Book from Furness Bermuda Line's QUEEN OF BERMUDA.


Deck by Deck... who live where and how many... of the 290 in the department ranging from Cruise Director, Social Hostess up on Sun Deck...down through the ship all the others... Chief & Staff Chief Steward on C Deck but listed for D
Deck are the following:

Senior Second Steward 1
Chief Stewardess 1
Hairdresser and Shop Assistant 1
Stewardesses 7 in 4 cabins
Waiters 32 in 5 cabins
Bedroom Stewards 24 in 5 cabins
Commis waiters 4 in 1 cabin
Assistant Deck Stewards 4 in 1 cabin
Officer's Stewards 4 in 1 cabin
Assistant Writers 2, Bell Captain 1, GLORY HOLE STEWARD 1 ... all in 1 cabin
Pageboys 12 in 3 cabins.

Checking over the complete list for deck, engine and catering, the max number in any cabin was 7... not bad for a 1933 ship.

It was said that the passenger stewards and waiters on the QUEEN and MONARCH of BERMUDA were the highest paid in the MN. I've heard figures like US$ 35,000 a year being talked about. Both ships used to overnight in New York between voyages and droves of the stewards went ashore any stayed in the best hotels, returning to work next morning.

Usually on a run ashore in New York in the early 30's a few bottles were put into the overnight bag. One steward was stopped by a Customs Officer and asked what was in his suitcase. He replied, "My cat." The officer told him to open the case. Well, the cat flew out of his case and bolted along the pier, disappearing into the city. Every week after that the same steward was asked what was in his case. He always replied, "My cat.".... and was never searched again!!!!


12th October 2011, 16:45
Stephen I was on the Furness Withy boat Pacific Envoy as Asst.Steward (engineers) on US West coast 2 monthly run and was hoping to join Monarch or the Queen as I heard there was alot of money to be earned as a steward. The Blood money as tips were known as, was the best in the British MN. But I wasn't going to commit to 9 or 10 months away at a time, as there was a girl friend at home at the time, she is still with me as my wife, after nearly 50 years and I don't regret it, but NY to Burmuda would have been nice.
As for the cat story I remember hearing that one also.
PS: I finished my 4 years at sea as a "Glory Hole Steward" se my next thread.

13th October 2011, 11:56
Glory Hole Steward :
I joined the Pendennis Castle in Jan/64 after leaving the Stirling just before her Chrstmas voyage I had been offered the position of 2nd Head Waiter (tourist) but turned it down as the cost of uniforms etc, and also I had plans in the future to move ashore permanently. Apparently the Stirlings Christmas trip was "hellish" and the Tourist Head Waiter ended up in Capetown hospital with a knife wound, I was glad I didn't accept the post.
Anyway I joined Pendennis as Tourist waiter and after 2 trips took on one of the best paid jobs for Asst. Steward on the ship "Glory Hole Stwd" (or Peak Stwd) I think one better was deck waiter but not sure, as he had to be lucky , tip wise !!!
My job was looking after 16 cabins on the Port side and 4 berths to a cabin 16x4=64 catering crew and I think 2 bathrooms etc. The tipping rule was 2 pounds outward bound and 2 pounds homeward (DON'T KNOW WHO MADE THE RULES BUT THERE IT WAS) Blood money it ran through the catering side of the ship. My day was : 5:30 I got tea, ,milk, ,sugar, and cups with a urn on trolley from Silver locker (so he needed paying end of trip) and knocked on doors at 6:00. Early morning tea was 50p out and 50p home not everyone wanted it, this was noted !!! Extra tariffs was also used...but we won't go there !
Breakfast for me was next, once they had turned too, then beds had to be made up MOT style (sheets and counterpane was not tucked in to the mattress) cabins and alleyway had to be clean, this took until late afternoon.
I remember we got 2 hours overtime per day, but I just can’t recall what we did later in the day, I am sure we worked until about 7.
On arriving at Southampton and payoff time we were at the end of the line with the book, and ticked off the name as they went through. It didn’t always work but in general the payoff was pretty good. i.e 38 pound per month wages plus 2 hours O/T per day, plus possibly 128 + pounds blood money, BUT we only paid the chef and silver man, they had to pay others , using the tips from the passengers !!! It sounds pretty “cushy” but it was damned hard graff and not the best place to work, BUT as stated earlier the job was one of the best and I did hear that the job had to be “bought” in some cases. I did 2 trips and then left for shore side. Some of the stories of those 2 voyages even in today’s liberal world are fun to tell !!!
The original question: How many GHS ? I am afraid I don’t know, I think there were 120 tourist waiters and then there was first class waiters maybe 70-80, bedroom stewards , bathroom stwds etc all Asstd. Stwds..
The Glory Hole Stwd could be pretty ruthless and they tended to “loners” I only knew my Starboard side partner and then only as “Geordie “ I was not one of those, and I think that was part of the reason I left after 2 trips.
Four years ago I did a trip on the QM2 to NY and told my waiter of my experience as a waiter on Union Castle and got the impression that the same methods are in place still today, and I imagine it would be more ruthless today…I am guessing .