Grand Staircase Theory

jerry7171

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Apr 12, 2016
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Not entirely about this specific subject, but in general, I am fascinated by how we keep learning new things as the years march on. It seems as though we all thought there weren't many unanswered questions about the night the Titanic sank. Now we're realizing we knew far less and have to almost continuously revise established facts to account for things we're rediscovering. All this a over a century after that tragic night!

I've heard of the staircase theory too. The theory that Jack Thayer mistook the Grand Staircase for the bow rising up seems to stretch credibility at first glance. But considering the rapid change of events in those moments, the dim lighting, the cacophony of screams and noise, it isn't hard to understand why he thought he saw the bow rising out of the N. Atlantic temporarily. It makes perfect sense.

Pieces of debris that might've* been from the Grand Staircase were seen in the area afterwards by passing ships. Since there hasn't been any debris associated with the Grand Staircase found at the bottom of the shaft where it rose from, I'll wager much of the heavier material, like the iron balustrades is somewhere further to the south and east God-knows-how-many miles away. Once the wood finally lost enough buoyancy to keep debris floating at the surface, the debris would have descended to the seabed and probably still lies there, never to be seen again.

* I cautiously qualify the debris identification theory as there weren't any people who were familiar with the specific characteristic of the Grand Staircase who saw the debris to conclusively state what exactly they saw.
 

Kyle Naber

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Oct 5, 2016
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Thank you! That reminds me...the second class barber shop was located on C deck just beside the aft grand staircase. I was reading over a PDF called "The Facts - What did the Survivors see of the break-up of the Titanic." And in this, the testimony from
Maj. Peuchen supports this theory:

"It was intact at that time. I feel sure that an explosion had taken place in the boat, because in passing the wreck the next morning - we steamed past it - I just happened to think of this, which may be of some assistance to this inquiry - I was standing forward, looking to see if I could see any dead bodies, or any of my friends, and to my surprise I saw the barber's pole floating. The barber's pole was on the C deck, my recollection is - the barber shop - and that must have been a tremendous explosion to allow this pole to have broken from its fastenings and drift with the wood."

This leads me to believe that there wasn't an explosion in the ship, rather it was the aft grand staircase lifting up and out of the ship, taking parts of the barber shop (which was directly next to it) with it. So if this were to happen with the aft grand staircase, then this makes me think that the same exact thing would also happen with the main staircase. When survivors say that the bow rose up, what they were really seeing was the black silhouette of a massive staircase lifting up from the hole in the glass dome. And the ones who thought that they felt it was rising back up, it was the staircase pushing up underneath their feet!

-Kyle
 

jeffjenlucas

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Jun 10, 2016
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I have always trusted Jack Thayer's account of the sinking, and I believe something did rise and fall over to his left field of vision after Titanic broke in two. For a while I guessed maybe it was just a giant mass of air bubbles. But I think his vision was keener than that and he witnessed a solid shape that appeared to have been the tip of the bow but couldn't have been. Your Grand Staircase theory is fascinating. Time dissolved much of the wood on the ship. How did The bronze Cherub get wrenched away though?
Cherub Sat At Base of Grand Staircase
Code:
37334
When the water was causing the RMS Titanic to sink, it began to invade the parts where the passengers were gathered. One place was the Grand Staircase, and at one point, the water crashed through the dome over the top of it. Water came rushing down the stairs of the Grand Staircase, and at the bottom of the A deck staircase sat a bronze cherub. There is speculation that people began to panic as the water came in, and someone may have grabbed onto the base of the cherub as the water began to fill the room. One foot of the bronze cherub was attached to the base, and the fact someone may have grabbed onto it might be what caused it to come loose from the base. Years later, the beautiful cherub would be found in the debris field at the bottom of the ocean, and brought to the surface for conservation.
 

jeffjenlucas

Member
Jun 10, 2016
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...It looks to me that no person wrenched base of the bronze Cherub "loose". Instead, the entire Grand Staircase itself broke away from the bronze Cherub and floated upward, and then the bronze Cherub broke away from the Grand Staircase, and tumbled downward.
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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In fairness, since the Grand Staircase was made of wood, even if it remained in the wreck, it would probably be a thick pile of sediment by now. So there probably wouldn't be much of the remnants to find.

The 1st class Barber Shop (as well as the aft grand staircase) was right above the reciprocating engines, the part of the ship that was ripped out when the Titanic split - so basically everything - including the barber's pole and staircase - was ripped out of the ship, regardless of the buoyancy of the staircase.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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That cherub is not from the A Deck landing. The ship was flooded there was no such spectacular dome implosion as shown in the movie also it is very unlikely that many people were inside. The wreckage in the debries field show more that parts of the staircase find its way out of the ship though the break area aft.
 
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Aaron_2016

Guest
The metal frame of the dome was found in the debris field. Not sure if it came from the forward or aft staircase. If the forward staircase remained in place, should this frame be inside the wreck and not in the debris field? - unless it is part of the aft staircase which I understand was destroyed by the break up and descent.



Code:
2288


Code:
2289


If Charles Joughin's timing was accurate and he heard the ship breaking apart shortly after leaving his cabin on E-deck, then the sea would have rushed in very rapidly, flooding decks A,B,C,D,E with such a roar and speed that perhaps it broke the staircase from its foundations and lifted the whole thing up? If each deck had gradually flooded, then the staircase would have probably remained intact inside the ship.


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Jul 8, 2018
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Joughin had been mentioned for another strange theory. Aside that the foundation of the staircase landing on D Deck is still inside the wreck Joughin was clear where he was and when he heard the breaking of metal.

6040. Tell us what happened? - I went to the deck pantry, and while I was in there I thought I would take a drink of water, and while I was getting the drink of water I heard a kind of a crash as if something had buckled, as if part of the ship had buckled, and then I heard a rush overhead.
6041. Do you mean a rush of people? - Yes, a rush of people overhead on the deck.
6042. Is the deck pantry on A deck? - Yes.

6043. So that the deck above would be the boat deck? - Yes, I could hear it.
6049. You say that you heard this sound of buckling or crackling. Was it loud; could anybody in the ship hear it? - You could have heard it, but you did not really know what it was. It was not an explosion or anything like that. It was like as if the iron was parting.
6050. Like the breaking of metal? - Yes.
6051. Was it immediately after that sound that you heard this rushing of people and saw them climbing up? - Yes.

There are remains of the forward staircase in the debris field too which left the ship aft though the break area.
That might have been the engine room bulkhead failing, since it was directly aft of the aft GSC
 
Jul 8, 2018
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In response to the candelabra, although I believe it came through the Dining Saloon when it broke, I believe that the candelabra was somehow affected by being underwater for half an hour before the ship plunged.

Does anyone know of any survivor that exited the staircase after 2 AM? That might help with this issue. It just seems impossible (especially with the Reception Room entrance door being opened) that the Grand Staircase was sacked up.

Has there been deep expeditions in the First Class areas on E-Deck. I bet that they are as damaged as every other Staircase deck but D-Deck (wood deteriorates).
I believe the momentum at 40 MPH would have what knocked all the gilding and decorations loose, then they were all free to float out, the same reason why loose or poorly fitted trim pieces can fall off cars after sudden braking or going over a massive pothole.
 
Jul 8, 2018
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In James Cameron's film there's a scene where passengers appear to be getting sucked back into the staircase through the windows, would this of actually happened? was it the outside water pressure or the inside pressure? i can only imagine that passengers were in the staircase when it got sucked, that wouldn't have been nice.

Also, is there a reason why the 2nd and 3rd class staircases did not get sucked? are they still intact?
 
Jul 8, 2018
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We know that the Grand Staircase was destroyed sometime during the sinking/descent/wreck over time.

Has there been any mention of the forward GSC clock? Is that still in the wreck?
I think the forward GSC clock (A Magneta time co. model) is gone, as well as honor and glory.
 

Seungho Kang

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Mar 5, 2019
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The ship broke in front of the 3rd funnel forward of the aft staircase. The forward part of the aft staircase is at the 2nd so called "tower debris".
That’s correct. I don’t really buy the theories which state that the ship broke aft of the 3rd funnel, or even beyond that. The aft staircase would break away after stern implosion, as seen in the debris field. Would the stairs of aft GSC float after the aft tower debris break away from the stern afterwards?
 
Nov 13, 2014
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That piece of debris is from the aft Grand Staircase.

I don't really buy the whole "staircase broke free" theory. I think the forward Grand Staircase was mostly flooded, causing it to lose so much buoyancy it never broke free. And the aft Grand Staircase was ripped apart completely when the ship broke up, which is why so many pieces of it are found in the debris field.
 

HSRP131346

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Mar 4, 2017
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Can't find it (not that I think anyone really cares) I must have seen it in a facebook discussion and therefore dismissible.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Joughin had been mentioned for another strange theory. Aside that the foundation of the staircase landing on D Deck is still inside the wreck Joughin was clear where he was and when he heard the breaking of metal.

6040. Tell us what happened? - I went to the deck pantry, and while I was in there I thought I would take a drink of water, and while I was getting the drink of water I heard a kind of a crash as if something had buckled, as if part of the ship had buckled, and then I heard a rush overhead.
6041. Do you mean a rush of people? - Yes, a rush of people overhead on the deck.
6042. Is the deck pantry on A deck? - Yes.

6043. So that the deck above would be the boat deck? - Yes, I could hear it.
6049. You say that you heard this sound of buckling or crackling. Was it loud; could anybody in the ship hear it? - You could have heard it, but you did not really know what it was. It was not an explosion or anything like that. It was like as if the iron was parting.
6050. Like the breaking of metal? - Yes.
6051. Was it immediately after that sound that you heard this rushing of people and saw them climbing up? - Yes.

There are remains of the forward staircase in the debris field too which left the ship aft though the break area.
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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I don't think the speed of water rushing in would have affected the buoyancy of the staircase, although it may have jarred it loose.

Christophe, were the Grand Staircase flooded, it would aid, not hinder, the staircase from breaking free. Wood floats - immerse a massive block of wood in water and it will float. The question is, was the staircase buoyant enough to rip it loose from the rest of the ship?
 
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Aaron_2016

Guest
Does anyone know where these items were located? The survivors witnessed them floating in the water.

- a destroyed grand piano
- chairs
- pillows rugs
- benches
- tables
- barber shop pole
- cushions
- coffee beans
- fragments of the ship
- Bodies and pieces of the ship blown into the air
- Millions of sparks
- Black smoke
- Hissing of steam
- Coal
- Oil slick
- Large quantity of cork

Mr. Edward Ryan
"We saw several pieces of wreckage, including the keyboard of a big piano all floating about. This must have come from the Titanic after the two big explosions."

Mrs. Emily Hart
"She appeared to be breaking in halves.....For a few moments we could see everything that was happening, for, as the vessel sank, millions and millions of sparks flew up and lit everything around us, and in an instant the sea was alive with wreckage, with chairs, pillows, and rugs, benches, tables, cushions, and strangely enough, black with an enormous mass of coffee beans."

Mary Glynn
"There was a terrific explosion, which threw the water in a turmoil, and fragments of the ship were hurled high into the air. I supposed the boilers had exploded."

August Weikman
"I think the boilers blew up about in the middle of the ship. The explosion blew me along with a wall of water. There were a great number of people killed by the explosion."

Mr. Hyman
"There came a terrible explosion, and I could see men, women and pieces of the ship blown into the air from the after deck. Later I saw bodies partly blown to pieces floating around, and I am sure more than a hundred persons were blown off into the sea by that explosion. A terrible hissing of steam began and the awful cry went on. I tried to close my ears, but there was some mysterious attraction and I had to hear that cry. The hissing and screaming kept up, and finally the ship seemed to right itself."

Charlotte Collyer
"Something in the very bowels of the Titanic exploded and millions of sparks shot up to the sky."

Mr. Osman
"You could see the explosions by the smoke coming right up the funnels....It was all black; looked like as if it was lumps of coal, and all that.....Through the funnels.....Pretty big lumps. I do not know what is was."

Captain Lord
"Looked like oil on the water."

Major Peuchen
"There was a very large quantity of floating cork. I am at a loss to understand where it came from. There were a great many chairs in the water; all the steamer chairs were floating, and pieces of wreckage; but there was a particularly large quantity of cork.....To my surprise I saw the barber's pole floating. The barber's pole was on the C deck. My recollection is the barber shop, and that must have been a tremendous explosion to allow this pole to have broken from its fastenings and drift with the wood."
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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I'm not sure I buy the whole "staircase just up and floated away" theory, but I find it easier to believe that parts of the staircase floated up and out, rather than them rolling back past all those cabins or the dinning room out through the back end where the ship was torn. The idea of any bits of the staircase with a good 40 mph of momentum carrying it forward suddenly flying out in the opposite direction down the whole dinning room while all of those wooden tables just sit there is a bit much to believe.