How Much paneling was installed on Britannic


Feb 14, 2011
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Anyone have a good feel as to how much paneling had been installed on Titanic's sister Britannic by the time she sank? Based on the MacBeth photos, the grand starcase paneling had not been installed, neither had the dining room paneling. Were her interiors large open spaces, with exposed pipes and steel walls, or were cabin wooden cabin walls already in place? I read one account that suggested the Swimming Bath was fully functional, and was rather oppulant, compared to Olympic and Titanic's plain jane look for their swimming baths. I also read that some officers on Britannic occupied cabins on B deck. This suggest to me some cabins were complete. If anyone has theories as to how much,if any,woodwork was installed on Britannic,
poste away!

Peace

Tarn Stephanos
 
K

Ken hogan

Guest
Tarn, The panelling on the Britannic WAS installed but with the outbreak of WWI and her conversion into a hospital ship they were removed,(to prevent fires i would imangine, all that wood buring on a ship that big full of wounded troops would have made the Yarmouth Castle incident look tame in comparison.) They were going to be reinstalled after the war but with the Britannic's Sinking, that plan went down the outhouse chute. Whatever happened to them I have no Idea.
Best,
Ken hogan
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi!

To make matters easier, by having the information in a single thread, here are the posts from the other discussion.

Mark Chirnside (me!), June 8th 2001:

…In March 1917 Harland & Wolff gave a final cost of £1,947,797 5 shillings 10 pence, for the cost of the ship, including roughly £26,000 (£28,000?) of expenditure incurred ‘for equipment and outfit, including furniture, fittings, electro plate, linen, etc.’ However, an amount of £18,784 9 shillings 11 pence is deducted from the figure, giving a £12,000 cost included in the ship…

This £18,784 9 shillings 11 pence figure is deducted due to expenditure of equipment ‘retained on shore at Liverpool and Southampton, or with suppliers,’ which seems to refer to furnishings and fittings at storage in those two places when Britannic was originally completed as a hospital ship at Liverpool, and in September 1916 hurried to Southampton when luxury fittings were removed in a small number, having been put back on during the previous three months, and some more hospital fittings were put on.

Now, if roughly £18,000 of fittings was off the ship, and the remaining £12,000 included in the cost of the ship and lost with her, can anybody provide an estimate regarding the complete cost of her fittings, and we could estimate how much was where? A further point is that some fittings may not ever have been manufactured, while we know some were auctioned in 1919 after being kept in storage since 1915, perhaps at Belfast which would be another quantity, but more likely from those at Liverpool and Southampton.
(I hope Eric doesn’t mind me re-posting extracts from his earlier post in this thread, but it’s on this board in any case if you check that link.)

Eric Sauder, June 10th 2001:

An auction of fittings from Britannic was held on 4 July 1919 and the items scattered to the wind. The whereabouts of a few Britannic fittings is known.

*A pub in Belfast that has a few bits and pieces of her Dining and Reception Rooms and some suite details.

*A private flat in Belfast has a large amount of paneling from two of her best suites.

*A collector in Germany has had a fair bit of luck tracking down some fittings and paneling from her first-class staircases among other things.

*Some of it wound up on other ships. A bed that found its way onto Olympic was sold at auction a number of years ago. It was stamped "433" and sold for just over $1,000. (My guess is that a fair number of Britannic items were placed on Olympic. After all, these were fittings from a nearly identical sistership, and there would have been no reason for White Star to "unload" a lot of the furniture at auction when it could simply be placed in storage and put on Olympic or another liner when their fittings wore out or were broken.)

*The bookcase from her second-class Library was going to be auctioned about eight years years ago. Shortly before the sale, the auction house was contacted by someone acting on behalf of a private party, who was interested in purchasing it before it went to auction. The sale was made, and it turned out that the annonymous purchaser was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

*And a huge amount of paneling was discovered just a few years ago in a warehouse in Belfast. (It was subsequently sold, but off hand I can't remember to whom.)

As for the woodwork at the Billingham Arms Hotel in England that supposedly comes from Britannic's first-class Smoking Room, although it looks similar to that on Britannic, remember that the only surviving image of Britannic's Smoking Room is a *rendering* not a photograph. Hardly conclusive proof. Also, a lot of the paneling carved at the time was quite similar in style. To be honest, there was nothing special about what was produced for the White Star Trio. As evidence, look at the Holland America ships of the time. They were all built by H&W, and many, many fittings and furniture are identical to those on Olympic, etc. Until I see some proof that the woodwork came from Britannic (perhaps the tell-tale hull number or room name on the back of one of the panels), I really can't add it to my list of "known" fittings.

Although I've seen copies of the catalogues for Mauretania, Aquitania, and Olympic dispersal sales, one has never turned up for Britannic that I know of.

Eric Sauder.
I hope you find this information interesting.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
B

Brian Hawley

Guest
In my collection are silverplate a sugar bowl and creamer. They are from the first class service and are date marked 1915. Certainly White Star would have needed replacement items year round and as such date marks do little for placing an item with a ship. Yet I have always wondered if these items were intended for Britannic and never placed onboard. They happen to be in MINT condition, unlike most other silver items I have ever seen that were actually used onboard. There is not a scratch on them, perfect with a capital P.

Brian
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Some Olympic 1920 photos, show the grand staircase foyer to be covered in the same tile pattern as was intended for Britannic.
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I don't know if this was placed on Olympic after Britannic sank, or whether Britannic retained its tiles and these were individually produced for Olympic. But I can also see furniture in Olympic's staircase that was intended for Britannic (or at least appears on the artist's rendering of the staircase).
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Daniel.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Daniel!

Thanks for those photographs. I think in another thread I mentioned an article I did on Britannic's grand stairs; I compared them to Olympic's early design.

It's interesting that Olympic's 1920 staircase had Britannic's tile pattern; clearly, White Star thought it an improvement and placed it on Olympic. At a guess, I'd say Olympic had new tiles of the same design type; but if I can check the only photo of Britannic's grand staircase in the Fleming book, then we can see if hers were fitted originally.

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Eric Sauder

Member
Nov 12, 2000
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Mark wrote: "I hope Eric doesn’t mind me re-posting extracts from his earlier post in this thread...."

Not at all, Mark. It saved me the trouble of doing it. :)

Eric Sauder
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Thanks everyone for the detailed information!
I have long wondered to what extent the Britannic's interior had been finished, and you have all certainly helped me to find out.
Thanks for sharing the information!

In addition to the paneling removed, there must have been scores of cups,dishes,forks,knives and the like that never made it on board- i suspect such would have gone to another ship-Olympic perhaps?

Wouldnt the small writing on the cup bottom indiacate if the original ship such cups were intended for?

Britannic was even shy a couple of her large davits, so I suspect quite a few exterior features had yet to be installed as well.....

Here is another question- some historians have sugested Britannic was never officially handed over to White Star- how is this possible, if that recent dive on the Britannic found some cups with the White Star Line logo?

On Olympic and Titanic, i assume their ship postcards and tin ciggarette containers were sold from the Barber Shop. Can we assume Britannic's Barber shop was up and running? Clearly Britannic ciggarete tins are around- according to a circa 1977 Titanic Commutator, one was taken off the ship by a survivor. Another recently sold on Ebay. How about the pre sinking Britannic postcards? Where on board would these have been sold? The barber shop, or could there have been a makeshift gift shop in another area?

Thanks and peace..

Tarn Stephanos
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Oh I suspect it's quite possible, Tarn. When a ship is being fitted out, they eventually get around to bringing on essential supplies long befor actual delivery takes place. We did the same on the USS Comstock when she was being fitted out. Befor we even went out on builders trials, we already had equipment, spare parts, etc. on board befor we even got underway.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Tarn!

I've only time to answer one question at the moment.

Can we assume Britannic's Barber shop was up and running?

Well, the Purser's office was functioning. Many Nurses left their money their and collected currency before going on shore leave in Naples.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 14, 2001
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Another thing:

Britannic WAS officially handed to the White Star on December 8,1916 at Belfast,after returning from her trials.The same day the ship was registered in Liverpool,the company's home port.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Hi Michailakis!

Im fascinated by that cabin photo- was that actually a Britannic cabin? If so, which cabin?


Could there be other photos of her interior that reveal completed paneling? Pity noone took a distance shot of her grand staircase.

The artist rendition suggests the design was differnt than the grand staircase on Olympic and Titanic. The paneling was different, and there was conciderably less boat deck area in the grand staircase- as the depiction suggests to get from the gym to the port side- youd need to go via the stairs to the port side. Check out the artistic redition, and youll see what I mean..

Plus the clock appears to be at on the wall at the base of the stairs, and not on the mid landing....


regards

Tarn Stephanos

Thanks for the info that she was indeed handed over to white Star
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Plus the clock appears to be at on the wall at the base of the stairs, and not on the mid landing....

I believe that there were two clocks. Check my signature link to Michail's website.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 14, 2001
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Hello,

Regarding the Grand Staircase I think Mark's article -in the "RMS Britannic" section of the "Britannic" website- is excellent.

Tarn:

Yes,this is a Britannic cabin.Regarding its location we had a discussion with Mark who had checked the plans some time ago.I have conserved his e-mail:

"Check out the deckplan of the forward end of B-deck below. Don't you
think
the cabin matches? The bed, door to the room, and window behind the
photographer seem to fit. I thought it was first class, although
visibly
incomplete, not as luxurious as if it was finished. There are similar
cabins
port and starboard on A-deck, and the one shown...."

Regards,
Michail


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M

Matthew O'Brien

Guest
Does anybody know where the fourh elevator on Britannic was added? I had heard that it was in the region of the aft first class staircase, but did not know if this was correct.
 

Nigel Bryant

Member
Aug 1, 2010
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Wellington, New Zealand
Matthew,

The fourth elevator was located just next to the first-class corrdior which lead to the lounge and the aft staircase. It was located between the tank room hatchway and the thrid-funnel casing. It was in a good location.

Regards,

Nigel
 

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