Antiques Roadshow


Mar 9, 2008
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Just heard that the BBC TV Antiques Roadshow is coming from the Titanic Drawing Offices in Belfast, Northern Ireland, presumably the old H&W Building, on the 13th April. Anyone with items of a Titanica who need a valuation and national coverage pop along. I await the screening with interest. You always find something unusual turning up!
 
Dec 29, 2006
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The 'Titanic' edition of the Antiques Roadshow was shown on BBC TV last night, and part two will be shown next week. It came from the Harland & Wolff drawing office (now sadly neglected) and there were several Titanic items, including paintings, furniture and photographs. Two members of the Andrews family were interviewed, one of whom was visibly upset when he spoke about the disaster. Will this programme eventually appear in the United States?
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Part II of the 'Titanic' edition was shown on BBC this evening, the main Titanic item being Captain Smith's dining table which, apparently, was not finished to time to installed on the ship. It was also stated that the Harland & Wolff offices were soon to be refurbished as part of the 'Titanic Quarter' urban renewal scheme which is taking place in Belfast.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi,

What were the dimensions of Smith's rooms on Titanic? I have heard this table was too large?

Best,
Eric
 
Dec 29, 2006
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I don't know about the size of the captain's private quarters, but the table was certainly very large - about 12 feet in diameter in its "small" configuration, with the ability to be extended for formal occasions. Having said that, as the table was built in-house by H&W at Belfast, it seems unlikely that they would have miscalculated the appropriate dimensions and made it too big for the ship.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Stanley,

Twelve feet wide at its smallest? In another thread here at ET it was mentioned that Smith's quarters consisted of three rooms. A basic bedroom, a bathroom and a sitting room with a table, wardrobe and settee. It was also mentioned that there seems to have been no provision for Smith to hold meetings of any kind, except with perhaps 1 or 2 officers. It appears the largest dimensions of any of Smith's rooms was perhaps 12-15 feet at most, and that is the room with the wardrobe, table and settee. Does anyone have the exact dimensions of this sitting room?

Best,
Eric
 
Dec 29, 2006
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The dimensions of "Captain Smith's Table" were not quoted in the television programme, but it was certainly a large item of furniture by ordinary domestic standards. There would not have been much room to spare if had been placed in a room around 12 feet by 15 feet.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Stanley,

if the plans I just looked at are correct, the Captain's Sitting Room room would have contained 2 wardrobes, a table, a roll top desk (RTD?), a settee, three chairs and three small objects I can't identify. Even with all the furniture removed from this room I do not see how any large table would be used, assuming one could even get it in.

Best,
Eric
 
Dec 4, 2000
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I suspect a misunderstanding growing on this thread. The term "captain's table" on a liner or cruise ship is usually applied to the table in the dining saloon where the ship's master sits when dining with passengers. It is much like the "head table" at a banquet and is often located at the focus of the room. For passengers, being seated at "the captain's table" for a meal is considered a high honor, indeed. The table under discussion sounds like one that could have been intended for such a purpose. From the description is was far to large for practical installation in the captain's quarters.

-- David G. Brown
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Dave,

I am aware of the term "captain's table" and read this information to mean a private table. I have heard of what I believe is this same table before, described as intended for his cabin. Would the captain's table in the dining room have been different than the other tables, and is it known this table was intended for Titanic and never put aboard?

Best wishes and thanks,
Eric
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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The table and matching set of chairs are currently in the Harbour Commisioners' premises in Belfast. It's they who seem to be confused. They refer to the table, along with a sideboard, being made for the "Captain's private quarters where he would have entertained the First Class guests". They also refer to the ship as HMS Titanic!

Here's the link for those able to view it (may not work in the US):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00gsjj1/Antiques_Roadshow_Series_31_Belfast/

The table appears at the tail end of the show.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Bob,

Many thanks. That link does not work in the US but I appreciate it just the same. It was presented as you described on the Roadshow? That would be a shame.

Best,
Eric
 
Dec 29, 2006
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The table in question was described as a "private" table for installation in the Captain's quarters. If I remember correctly it had two hinged drop flaps and a removable centre section - so it is conceivable that it could have been folded down and stowed away until needed for special occasions.
 

Bob Godfrey

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The (circular) table couldn't be folded but rather was designed to be extendable by cranking apart the two halves and inserting extra 'leaves' - in which form it would have been much larger than as shown. But I'd judge its unextended diameter to be around 6ft rather than the 12ft that's been suggested.
 

Bob Godfrey

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The chairs are the standard type used in the Adam style sitting rooms. The table is in matching style and rather like the circular tables seen in the 'millionaire' suites of the Olympic, but bigger. Maybe it was thought that at least one of those suites in the Titanic should be provided with a table of this size - if it would fit! And maybe only if requested - and otherwise it was kept in the WSL store in Soton, where it was later found.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Bob,

thanks for explaining that to me
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Yes, if it would fit - seems a bit tight from what I can see.

Best,
Eric
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Now I recall the table, having seen it on some TV show or other. The designation of it as "the captain's table" seems a bit of wishful thinking if it is applied to use in the captain's quarters. Even though he had an exalted position, the master of an Olympic class ship did not have extravagant quarters. The space allocated was not sufficient for the use of the table in question. And, even if it had been crowded into his quarters (by removing the bed, perhaps?), being cheek-by-bulkhead for dinner would hardly have impressed first class passengers.

Most likely, somebody has been applying sea story embellishment to the table. That is, the table's history has been improved just as the force of winds grows and waves get larger as sea stories are told and re-told. The table may have been built for Titanic, and if so may have been intended for the captain's use in the dining saloon. But, it would appear the plan was abandoned before the table was installed. As such, it is just a table with an "if only" moment in its history. But, that story does not make for good TV or high auction value.

-- David G. Brown
 

Bob Godfrey

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I don't doubt that furniture was made in the Harland & Wolff workshops, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was always intended for use onshore - in a head office or boardroom maybe.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Dave and Bob,

that is what I was thinking - onshore use in a head office etc., with a very embellished story.

Best,
Eric
 

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