Father Brown's photo of Titanic's Reading And Writing Room

In reading the Father Brown book, one Titanic photo has me scratching my head, is the somewhat hazy photo of the alcove of the Reading And Writing Room.

Since the rug has the same wrinkle as in the photo of the same room on Olympic, I think both photos were either from Olympic or Titanic.

I wonder if there is any chance any of the bridge or swimming bath photos claimed to be from Olympic could actually be from Titanic?

How about that hazy grand staircase photo- Is that really yet another Olympic photo, or could that have been from Titanic?


Tarn Stephanos
Hey Tarn,

Thats a good question, maybe its a CONSPIRACY! Or, maybe I'm just clueless!
Would Father Browne be soooooo careless in labelling his photos? He was like, so detailed and interested in what was he doing, so I don't think he would confuse the pictures up.

Anybody knows, which year he was on board the Olympic? Thanks!

I really think that photograph that Tarn is describing is actually the Olympic. It seems that there is two much light outside, as Titanic's deck was enclosed by screen windows at this point, so there would be less light if it was taken on Titanic. I think Fr Browne took this photograph when he visited the Olympic for a day when she was docked in Queenstown enroute to New York. I think he also took the photograph of the portside promenade seen in Titanic & Her Sisters and the famous photograph of the Olympic's bridge seen in most Titanic books.



I think Nigel makes a few valid points regarding the light in the Read and Write room. There is too much light coming from the large windows, and from the upper window in the alcove, there is also too much light which would have been greatly blocked due to a vent/fan being there. I personally think it was the Olympic.

Fr. Browne never travelled on the Olympic, but he visited her when she stopped at Q-town on a few occasions. He must have been there either for her maiden voyage or one of the early ones, which is why the fold in the carpet is the same as the one on the H&W photo. That H&W photo is definitely the Olympic.

The staircase photo is Olympic, and it was taken after Olympic returned to passenger service after her winter 1912/13 refit. The rubber nosings on the stairs give it away. Titanic still had the brass nosings.



trevor ward powell

hello to all
do any of you guys know of any photos of titanic's passengers currently available for sale somewhere..?
plleeeaassee help me

trevor ward powell

ps: when i mean photos off titanic's passengers, i refer to period(1912 and soo)

Damon Hill

Going back to the discussion of whether the photo in Father Brownes book is the Titanic or Olympic...the fold in the carpet may be the same, yet the arrangement of the furniture is slightly different, in the photo of Olympic the table and 4 chairs in the centre of the alcove are set at an angle to the walls and in the one supposedly of the Titanic this setting is set with the table being square to the walls. Also the curtains are drawn differently in the two photos. Olympics are pulled right back whereas the "Titanic" ones meet at the top and are pulled back at the ties. That's not to say it is definitely Titanic or it's definitely not, I just don't know if a bump in a rug shown in the two photos means it's Olympic. Does this post make sense to anyone or are you just as confused as me now?!
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Damon: Your post makes perfect sense. Most of us wouldn't have wanted the scatter-rugs to be wrinkled in either photograph, if we were the photographer! However, placed where they are, they would both, of course, tend to 'walk', and wrinkle-up - especially in the middle. And the 'folds' are as individualistic as other features you've mentioned: one rug more disturbed than the other; one wrinkling running across almost at right angles and the other running distinctly left into the room toward the windows. As in the very similar discussion of the fascinating photograph that might possibly be of Titanic's Grand Staircase, which I recently couldn't kick-start again, we must question the 'answers' - and sometimes the 'questions' - or we'll come to know less and less.
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I never saw the man on the left near of the column, before only saw the man in front.

(Edited to remove the photograph. Please do not post copyright images on this board. FN)
As this 'pairs' with the other A-deck and below-bridge photograph (and each facing opposite ends of 'Titanic'), I suspect - as so many others have - that the principal figure in this careful study is not just 'anyone' aboard. Regardless of its lacking a caption which would simply tell us who it is (and Father Browne very rarely wrote such captions), in the other photograph - which also includes John Jacob Astor in the far distance - neither Jack Odell (looking over the railing) nor Thomas Jones (as I believe the 'sailor' to be) were identified by name.


This is quite late in the post but why not.. I'm building a replica 1:12 scale of Titanic's Reading & Writing room and have done MASSIVE research on this room in my prep. I have come to believe that the photo of "Titanics" R & W room by Father Browne wasn't actually of the Titanic. I believe that per the description in Shipbuilder that the Titanic's alcove was unique in that it was raised with stairs going to it. This is both described and then the artist rendition of it also includes the stairs and raised portion. So along with that rug example from above I also think those photos were actually of Olympics R & W room. (And a not necessarily proven thing, I think the carpet looks too worn in his photo to be of Titanics brand new room)