Had the Olympic Not Been Scrapped

Dec 4, 2000
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Think "Fire!"

Think Morrow Castle

Think Noronic

Think "Fire!"

With its wooden interior, pre-WW1 wiringing, old paint, etc., Olympic was an 882-1/2 foot barbecue for the rich and famous.


-- David G. Brown
 
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May 3, 2005
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Keep in mind that hotel/museum status did not work at all for the Queen Elizabeth, and is having serious issues these days with the Mary.

Wayne

p.s. David, if I ever get rich, I will give you a call. I also thought it would be fun to do the Luci and the Normandie too
I 'm not sure about the other museum ships, but I understand they have been having serious preservation problems with the Battleship USS Texas.
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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Hindsight is a great thing for Olympic. It all comes down to money. Come the 1930 the height depression years put the end of a good ship with others too. If they only knew the war years was just around the corner. The ship would of been saved. At lest all the first class fittings and furniture all sold off to good homes. The ship may be dead in the water but still alive on land! Turning into a museum can be very costly and land up costing the tax paying for it! As the Queen Mary in Long Beach made a thumping loss to start with. As I have a piece of her metal from the propeller melted down at 980c turned into a key ring tag. The certificate claims is original from the ship. RMS QUEEN MARY with cast model of the ship is one side and other side cast as the four bladed propeller with 1002 Atlantic Crossings. I bet that ship must cost a small fortune to keep the rust at bay. As a young boy had the honour sailing on the ship. Still remember one day in the Atlantic of the roughest weather I have every had to experience. The ship took a real beating that day. Like they say. They just don't build them like they did in the past!
 

Ryan Burns

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Sep 23, 2016
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Some in this thread have discussed how poorly the Queen Mary is doing. Had Olympic similarly been saved as a floating museum, I'm not so sure she would have the same problems as QM because of funding. The QM is a neat little tourist attraction, but the ship by itself is not an attraction. It's something cool to see if you are around the area. If the Olympic were around, I suspect many, many people would come from around the world every year just to see it. I've never given a thought about driving across the country to see the QM, but by god if there was what is essentially a Titanic replica harbored somewhere, I'd jump in the car right now and drive across the country to see it.

The Olympic would be a highly visited museum and would likely have the funding to maintain it properly. Old ships can survive fine if they are funded properly. Look at the Victory or the Constitution or the Alabama or Enterprise, etc. QM is underfunded and it is suffering due to it. Olympic wouldn't have that problem methinks.
 
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Aelvir

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Jun 9, 2018
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Oh without a doubt. Honest a lot of those who visit the Queen Mary are those interested in her aspects of being notoriously haunted. But honestly yeah QM is being maintained poorly but I consider it being taken care of far better than the SS United States, I’ve not had much a care for that particular ship, but it’s said to see the current holder of the Blue Riband being a hulking structure of rust. But that one’s biggest problem is that those who went for an offer of restoring it constantly attempted to do so to turn her into a cruise ship, which is a bad idea seeing as that would not only be more costly, but also dangerous in itself. She’s 66 years old and due to financial issues she has hardly been maintained and moreso there is the point that turning her into a cruise ship would mean changing things about her (as I’m sure certain that the lifeboat positions for example aren’t in accordance with modern safety regulations) to have her meet proper modern regulations as well as take certain changes to make her an appealing cruise ships (I believe one company planned to remove a lot of things from the ship and replace them with exterior their cruise ships had), which is a bad idea as that would desecrate such a historic ship. Instead it just needs to be restored. It’s just like the Clive Palmer Titanic 2. I don’t know why people want to take historic vessels or build replicas of them, just to turn them into a cruise ship. The inevitable changes would obviously make it NOT a replica.
 
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Ryan Burns

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Good points. They'd probably end up making far more money if they just straight up built a replica Titanic that was solely to be used as a museum. As you said, any attempt to make it a functioning cruise ship ultimately ruins the entire point of building the thing because it has to have modern features and modern lifeboats, etc.
 

Aelvir

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Jun 9, 2018
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Yes, precisely. Personally, though, I believe Olympic deserves it the most as Titanic has gotten so much posthumous fame to the point too many people are not even aware of Olympic’s existence
 

Aelvir

Member
Jun 9, 2018
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Wilmington, DE; USA
Hindsight is a great thing for Olympic. It all comes down to money. Come the 1930 the height depression years put the end of a good ship with others too. If they only knew the war years was just around the corner. The ship would of been saved. At lest all the first class fittings and furniture all sold off to good homes. The ship may be dead in the water but still alive on land! Turning into a museum can be very costly and land up costing the tax paying for it! As the Queen Mary in Long Beach made a thumping loss to start with. As I have a piece of her metal from the propeller melted down at 980c turned into a key ring tag. The certificate claims is original from the ship. RMS QUEEN MARY with cast model of the ship is one side and other side cast as the four bladed propeller with 1002 Atlantic Crossings. I bet that ship must cost a small fortune to keep the rust at bay. As a young boy had the honour sailing on the ship. Still remember one day in the Atlantic of the roughest weather I have every had to experience. The ship took a real beating that day. Like they say. They just don't build them like they did in the past!
Not true. Most of her fittings are God knows where. SOme of the one’s unaccounted for are occasional seen up for sale on eBay and the like, but there is no guarantee of its authenticity. While Celebrity Millennium has her A La Carte restaurant it was removed from Millennium in 2016. Furthermore, when her fittings were auction off, barely 30% of her fittings were actually purchased due to the populace at the time seeming her beautiful fittings as dated and looking like “it belonged in their grandmother’s house”, which honestly was a very closed-minded view of it and an insult, considering how valuable they are.
The sad part of it all is only less than 20% are accounted for and half of which have their locations defined extremely vaguely. Also most of her wood was cut down into plain cook stoppers, brush sets, etc. Call me pessimistic but I don’t trust random people with pieces of history. I think the fittings that weren’t sold should have been donated to a maritime museum.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
I'm not so sure about how well the Olympic would have done as a museum. The reason for this is because for a very long time, the sort of passionate following and study which Titanic people take for granted simply didn't exist. It just wasn't there and "A Night To Remember" was hooted at as "A Night To Forget!" by at least one of the survivors. White Star and it's successor, Cunard White Star tried very hard to do just that.
 
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A. Gabriel

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This is why I suspect ill will/intentions in Olympic’s scrapping. All the old White Star ships were systematically expunged over the years, until the company was pure Cunard in all but name, in order that Titanic would die a footnote in history.

At least, that is how I feel about it, and I am not exactly unbiased. Then again, the plans used at the Inquiry were thrown out when CWS’ archives were cleared out, and were only saved from the dump by the sheerest stroke of luck... How can I not ascribe some sort of malice to what appeared to be systematic attempts to obliterate the supposed “Old Shame” that was Titanic and White Star Line?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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This is why I suspect ill will/intentions in Olympic’s scrapping.
There was no ill will. The Olympic had been a very profitable ship for over a quarter of a century but by 1935, trends, styles, fashions and tastes were changing, to say nothing of everybody wanting bigger and better.

The decision was a business based call made of the expected economies and at a time, and the Olympic was becoming rapidly uncompetitive. Don't forget that the much beloved Mauritania went to the breakers around this time and for the same reasons.
 
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A. Gabriel

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This much I am aware of, yes. The older liners were becoming unprofitable and the Great Depression made it hard to use them for alternative earning means like floating hotels/museum ships. But that considered, and counting Olympic as one data point in a set, to me it looked like a White Star purge was getting underway, which would be unsurprising as Cunard had the majority in CWS.

Note that I do not mention Cunard’s losses in this list: they had the means to build more ships in Cunard livery, while WSL’s was a mere relic of the past.

1935 Adriatic scrapping begins in January, Olympic laid up in early April, Homeric laid up at the end of September, Olympic scrapping begins in October
1936 Homeric scrapping begins in March, Majestic retired (a reversal of the earlier decision to let Berengaria go first)
1947 Cunard takes the remaining White Star shares in CWS
1950 CWS becomes simply Cunard again, the remaining WSL vessels being made to fly the Cunard flag over their own
1956 Georgic retired
1961 MV Britannic retired
1968 Nomadic retired for scrapping in November, the WSL flag is no longer flown by any Cunard ship after that
 
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Aaron_2016

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The Olympic may have lost two of her funnels and suffered the same fate as several other 4-funnelled ships. e.g. In the 1930's the Arundel Castle and Windsor Castle had two funnels removed.



4funnels.png




What if scenario - The Olympic in 1939 with two large funnels.

olympic2funnels.png


Perhaps an elevated bridge and a sharper bow as well.

olympic2funnelsa.png



.
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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This much I am aware of, yes. The older liners were becoming unprofitable and the Great Depression made it hard to use them for alternative earning means like floating hotels/museum ships.
Such an alternative would never have been seriously considered back in 1935. Very few ships had become museums in that day and age and I mean VERY few. With some extraordinary exceptions, it just wasn't done.

The purge of the White Star tonnage was due in no small part to the fact that a lot of it was over aged and past it's prime. The same thing happened to the over aged Cunard tonnage and for the same reasons. There was no malice. No conspiracy. No ulterior or sinister motives.

It was strictly business.

Anything else is over thinking the problem.
 

Dan Kappes

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Sep 26, 2018
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Why didn't the Olympic become a museum ship like the Queen Mary instead of being scrapped?

Did the idea of museum ships not exist when the Olympic was scrapped in the 30s? I know the Queen Mary became a museum ship in the 70s.

It would've been so cool to have the Olympic as a museum ship today. At least we have the Queen Mary. I hope they never get rid of her.
 
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PITAI

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In light of the theoretical and actual fates of the ships discussed here, I wonder if being shipwrecked is, in some way, the best possible ultimate fate of a vessel. It goes from being just another ship that reliably does its job then goes quietly into the night to this object of mystery and obsession. Even some random cargo or fishing boats become these topics of interest, maybe one day being recorded by archaeologists to be seriously studied.

What would have become of Britannic had she not sunk? Now, if you are able and willing, you can see what is in effect a largely intact version of Titanic's wreck in shallow waters. You can get a selfie with her massive propellers.

Maybe not the best thing for their crews and passengers, though.
 

Mike Spooner

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When comes to history the Olympic with 24 years service is hardly history! As for the RMS Aquitania. A fine magnificent luxury liner with more history and 36 years service, surviving two world wars. Yet still landed up in the breaker yard!
Some of her first class wooden fitments can be found on the Isle of Wight hotels.