Featured Article: The Coal Strike / Titanic's Second Class Passengers

Many of Titanic's Second Class passengers hold First Class tickets on ships like Oceanic or Majestic. Less elegant White Star liners whose voyages had been canceled because of a coal strike that has affected Britain since February. The coal supplies as well as the passengers of the other ships were transferred to Titanic.

These Second Class passengers are educated middle class people, some are on vacation and some are returning home.  Among them are Lawrence Beesley, a science professor from London. Also the Becker Family, American missionaries returning from India. Their accommodations on Titanic will be just as comfortable as a First Class cabin on any other ship. Before the ship sets sail, these passengers are allowed to tour the luxurious First Class sections of Titanic.

More About the Coal Strike

The national coal strike of 1912 was the first national strike by coal miners in the United Kingdom. Its main goal was securing a minimum wage. After 37 days, the government intervened and ended the strike by passing the Coal Mines Act, establishing a minimum wage for the first time.

The dispute centered upon an attempt made by the Miners Federation of Great Britain, the main trade union representing coal miners, to secure a minimum wage for miners in their district and replace the complicated wage structure then in place which often made it difficult for a miner to earn a fair day's wage. The same issues had caused a major dispute the previous year in South Wales and had become a national issue. The strike was a repeat of the unsuccessful strike of 1894 which also sought a minimum wage.

The strike began at the end of February in Alfreton, Derbyshire and spread nationwide. Nearly one million miners took part. It ended on 6 April after 37 days. The strike caused considerable disruption to train and shipping schedules.