Cabin doors and Curtains - Ships Nostalgia
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Cabin doors and Curtains

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  #1  
Old 30th January 2013, 01:44
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Cabin doors and Curtains

Amongst our private 'Old Salts Group' someone has mentioned how it is on todays ships, with piped TV to everyones cabin the accommodation is like a morgue with all the doors shut.

A far cry from the WW II days and after where doors were always open but had a curtain across which then developed into an etiquette
attached to curtains.

Our doors had a hook, usually on the bunk end to hold the door fully open and one on the door frame to hold it ajar. If the door and the curtain were open, knock and enter; if the door was open but the curtain closed, knock and wait for a reply before entering; if the door was ajar with the curtain covering the gap, DO NOT DISTURB! (Unless sinking etc.)
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  #2  
Old 30th January 2013, 03:20
David Campbell David Campbell is offline  
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Barnsey. How right you are. I remember the alleyways, amidships as you describe. I was with BTC from 1953 until 1961, all with midship accomodation.
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  #3  
Old 30th January 2013, 03:58
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The only time we closed and locked doors was in port to keep the shore wallah's out, except in Port Said where the buggers got in regardless of how well one had battened down their cabin.
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  #4  
Old 30th January 2013, 05:47
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Dave,
I remember that extremely well and the 'knock', etc., always observed . However once the 'aircon', ships started to appear on the NZ coast many were without curtains and it took some time to get them fitted . Now days it appears that all the vessel I have dealt with have a closed door policy .

Lindsay
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  #5  
Old 30th January 2013, 07:13
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All,
The Royal Navy, I believe, had an expression 'Sporting the Oak' to indicate someone has a closed door and was not to be disturbed.
I as usual stand to be corrected.

Yours aye,


slick
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  #6  
Old 30th January 2013, 07:49
borderreiver borderreiver is offline  
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No Curtains on the Border tankers. Mr E Common said they were a fire hazard.
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  #7  
Old 30th January 2013, 08:49
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Cabin doors and curtains

"No Curtains on the Border tankers. Mr E Common said they were a fire hazard."

So was the bedding. So was smoking. So were a lot of things far more serious than door curtains in those days.
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  #8  
Old 30th January 2013, 09:39
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Good post, Barnsey. I remember being on the coast as 3/O with Capt DOW Jones and sometimes his wife would visit for a few days.

I'd be sitting at my desk in the early evening with my back to the curtained doorway and I'd hear a little thump, and there'd be a couple of toffees lying on the daybed. Nice little memory, that.
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  #9  
Old 30th January 2013, 10:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duquesa View Post
"No Curtains on the Border tankers. Mr E Common said they were a fire hazard."

So was the bedding. So was smoking. So were a lot of things far more serious than door curtains in those days.
Not to mention the oil!
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  #10  
Old 30th January 2013, 11:15
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Apart from the social aspects I believe that doors were left on the hook so that if anything untoward happened such as a mine or torpedo going orf under one's abode one wouldn't be trapped.

I'm not sure when they started putting 'kick panels' in the doors.

'Sporting the Oak'..... that's a new one.....
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  #11  
Old 30th January 2013, 14:15
forthbridge forthbridge is offline  
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When I first went to sea in the late 1950s curtains were normal and generally the ships had a good social life then when air conditioned ships appeared we were told to keep our cabin doors shut and the social life disappeared.
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  #12  
Old 30th January 2013, 14:59
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When I went away in 64, you were regarded as a little strange if you closed your door, didn't bother me as I prefered the peace and quiet.
Few years later when closed doors more more or less the norm, we had an incident where the bosun shall we say "tripped out on overload", turned out evryone was sleeping behind locked doors as well, they did not bother to tell me, perhaps I should have taken the hint!!
System I did like was where you had a door stay which kept the door open a few inches but it could be locked in that position, not that I would like to chance it in Port Said though.

2G
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  #13  
Old 30th January 2013, 15:08
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[QUOTE=Cisco;651961]

I'm not sure when they started putting 'kick panels' in the door

Had them in 42/43 but doors were rarely closed unless you had a female guest.....

Chas
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  #14  
Old 30th January 2013, 16:52
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The one thing I remember about cabin doors, which were indeed never closed but were simply covered with a curtain, inviting a knock and perhaps a couple of Tennants and a fag, was being fast asleep when a tornado blew in. It was the senior second engineer, who had something of a reputation as being a bruiser. He tore the curtain aside and belted me under my fast asleep chin, shouting something like "Ye are either for me or against me!" Then he was gone out, taking the curtain with him.

With a sore chin I scrambled out of my bunk and thought f**k this! I stormed along the corridor to his cabin and burst in. He was sitting there drowning a beer. As a lowly 3/E I was pushing my luck I guess, but I shouted "If you ever f****g well do that again I will keep on going for you until I fix you!"

Not the conduct becoming of officers, but we had been out a long time. We sank a couple or three beers together and resolved our differences (whatever they had been in the first place). He became a friend, to be visited in many ports in other ships.

Going to sea was a weird life really!
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  #15  
Old 30th January 2013, 17:33
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A closed cabin door, other than in port, was regarded as anti-social but on the Pacific Island Banana run after a 6pm to 6am 24 hour duty engineer stint I crave darkness and quiet to help induce sleep.
So it was a shut door, porthole closed with a disc of rubber insertion jointing to block out light, and the blowers full on. Then some bastard started using a chipping hammer or the like!

Bob
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  #16  
Old 30th January 2013, 17:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borderreiver View Post
No Curtains on the Border tankers. Mr E Common said they were a fire hazard.
So did Cal Mac when they managed NorthLink
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  #17  
Old 30th January 2013, 18:17
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Curtains

As a green 18 year old NZ in mid 60's, I did of course at first shut the door, disgusted shouts of 'wot you doin in there sparks?!' soon got the message across.
I was told the door could jamb in a collision, car doors do, so it makes sense?

Cheers
Dryden

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  #18  
Old 30th January 2013, 18:42
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i learned to always lock the cabin door in port, not just Port Said, there were thieves in every port in the world. I caught one in my cabin in Belfast, and another in Fremantle, so never left the door unlocked again.
At sea, it was always wide open and hooked back when you were working, and ajar on a hook while asleep.
Blue Funnel had a department in Birkenhead devoted to supplying and fitting colour co-ordinated curtains carpets,and bedspreads to every cabin, and the woman in charge was always in the group of shoreside wallahs who carried out a full inspection of every ship prior to sailing from Birkenhead.
Pat
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  #19  
Old 30th January 2013, 18:55
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#18

L.Ellis & Co. Does that name ring a bell, Pat?

Likewise, Henry Wilson & Co, Cornhill works - makers of every vase-boiler (always pronounced "vaise") which I ever used!
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  #20  
Old 30th January 2013, 19:34
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Barrie, I do remember Henry Wilson and Co. Coppersmiths who made all the tea urns in the Blue Flue sailor's messrooms. I polished up enough of them in my time as peggy.
L Ellis and Co? yes Barrie they were ships furnishers based in Birkenhead, and they supplied all manner of soft furnishings to every ship built in Cammel Lairds. I remember unloading their vans with the gantry crane in Lairds Group Stores from time to time.
There was an exhibition of Ellis soft furnishings in the marine section of the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead a few years ago.
Best Regards,
Pat
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  #21  
Old 30th January 2013, 19:38
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Always keep my curtain 'ajar' and door open at sea, closed in port and when turned in, always have done for the last 36 years.
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  #22  
Old 30th January 2013, 22:23
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In British India we had jalousie doors like the old wild west saloon doors as well as a curtain.
Normally curtain was open, if a little privacy was required then curtain was closed
and if major privacy was required the jalousie door was closed as well.
Hardly ever saw a main door shut - definitely way out of the ordinary.
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  #23  
Old 30th January 2013, 23:02
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Only time I locked my cabin door was for a few days on the Lucigen ( Moss Tankers ) when the crew , Scouse on deck and Geordies in the engine room broke into the bond and were well p1ssed for a couple of days . Had a knifeing and a few fists thrown . 3 crewlocked down until we got to Singapore where they were sent home . Sailed short handed for the rest of the trip .

The Old Man was smart ; ' just let them drink themselves to sleep and we will pick up the pieces in the daylight " which is what we did . There was no violence after we had removed the stabbed man from the crew quaters during the incident and put him under care and protection in the officers accomodation ..
Crews "tap " was stopped for a month or so ; then allowed 2 beers a day until paying off in Falmouth .

Derek
The issue between them was that the ship should have all been from one pool or the other and should not have been mixed ( some sort of union thing that was going on )

I was happy to get back to Brocks ships where no such event ever took place .

Last edited by Derek Roger; 30th January 2013 at 23:06..
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  #24  
Old 31st January 2013, 00:39
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That's what happens when you mix Geordies with white men.

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  #25  
Old 31st January 2013, 01:36
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Much to the disgust of my family, I still leave the bog door open whilst having a No.2! When sleeping alone (on the road), I have to leave a light on "just in case the alarm goes off"! No curtains in my time with BF, doors open all the time unless sleeping. Defo lock door in ANY port (especially Djakarta where they had pass keys to all the regular callers).
Rgds.
Dave
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