News from 1911 Gigantic Under Construction


Mark Baber

Staff member
The keel of the ship that would eventually be known as Britannic II was laid at Harland & Wolff on 30 November 1911. This article appeared several days before hand. Note that the description of this ship does not, in many regards, accurately describe Britannic.

The New York Times, 25 November 1911

To Have Golf Links, Cricket Field, Tennis Court, and Ballroom
By Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times
LONDON, Nov. 24 (by telegraph to Clifden, Ireland; thence by
wireless)---Remarkable details are now known of the thousand-foot liner,
the Gigantic, which the White Star Line has commissioned Harland & Wolff
to build at Belfast.

The beam will measure between 111 and 112 feet; the displacement will be
70,000 tons, and the gross tonnage over 50,000. The levels will be a
dozen or thirteen, with the highest over seventy-five feet above the
water line. The passenger accommodation will be increased in the first
class from 800 to 1,000 or more, and the total number over 4,000.

The Gigantic will not be an ocean greyhound, but a seven-day boat. She
will have both reciprocating and turbine engines. The cost is to be
close to £2,000,000, or $10,000,000. She will have a cricket field, a
tennis court, golf links, and reception and ball rooms, and restaurant
and veranda cafés, which will be placed forward instead of aft. There
will also be a plunge and all kinds of baths, and a gymnasium.

There will be a most elaborate scheme of decoration.


Brandon Whited

That made a fascinating read, Mark. Thanks for posting it. It is sad to think that this beautiful vessel was never outfitted as she is described in that paper. A cricket field, tennis court, and golf links? She would have truly been a floating palace. And yet, she met an even quicker fate than her sister had four years earlier.

Daniel Ehlers

Yeah, thanks for posting it. It makes me a little sad, though... Britannic II tops my list of favorite ships of all time, because she was denied so much, like this article states...
Dave Gittins

Dave Gittins

The Southampton Times of May 25th 1912 attributed the exaggerated tales of Gigantic to tall stories told by Olympic crewmen in New York, after Olympic's maiden voyage. It also mentions that Bruce Ismay denied any intention of using the name Gigantic. Britannic would have been just a somewhat more elaborate Titanic.

When The New York Times announced the name of Britannic on May 31st 1912, it did so in a sober and accurate article, giving the correct dimensions.

The New York Times sometimes gave exciting accounts of non-existent ships, including a plan for a 30 knot liner dated September 14th 1907. It attributes this tale to Alexander Carlisle. The news was "Fit to Print" but it was not accurate.

Mark Baber

Staff member
New-York Tribune, 25 November 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

White Star Line Plans New Ship of Greater Tonnage than Either the Olympic or
the New Liner Titanic
Controversy Over River Encroachment Sure To Be Started Again When Big Vessel
Comes to This Port in 1913 or 1914

The White Star Line is to have another gigantic steamship, which will be of
greater tonnage than the Olympic and Titanic and more than 100 feet longer.
Although the home office of the line has made no official announcement of
the letting of the contract, word was brought to this city yesterday from
Liverpool that the keel of the new monster would be laid early next month,
and that she would be 982 feet long, just 100 feet greater than the Olympic.

One of the significant indications that work on the new vessel will begin
soon is the recent lengthening of the great double gantry at the yards of
Harland & Wolff, at Belfast, in which the Olympic and Titanic were built.

According to the Liverpool information the White Star Line will be in first
place relative to having the longest ship in the world. The proposed new
monster will exceed by 32 feet the Hamburg-American's Line [sic] Imperator,
now being built abroad, and unless the Cunard Line changes its plans in the
construction of its Aquitania the new White Star steamship will exceed her
in length by 82 feet.

Made Ready Year Ahead

Fully a year before the specifications for the Olympic and Titanic were
complete the big yards of Harland & Wolff, at Belfast, started preparations
for their construction by the erection of a $1,000,000 steel gantry 1,000
feet long. It was thought at the time that ships bigger than the Olympic
would not be constructed there for many years and that the gantry would be
able to accommodate any contract that came to the yards.

This, of course, was contemplated before the Hamburg-American Line announced
it would build the 950-foot Imperator and the Cunard Line. its 900-foot,
50,000 ton Aquitania.

Lord Pirrie, head of the Belfast firm, declared when he was in this country
recently that he never expected to build anything bigger or finer than the
Olympic and Titanic. Notwithstanding this, however, the work of putting 100
feet on to the 1,000-foot gantry at Belfast has already begun.

The building of a vessel 100 feet longer than the Olympic, for which the War
Department permitted a 100-foot pier extension in the North River, suggests
that the controversy over river encroachment will most likely be started all
over again between the steamship companies and the War Department when these
leviathans are ready to come here in 1913 or 1914.

Stern Barely Within End of Pier

The Olympic's stern when she is in dock in the North River is barely 20 feet
within the end of the new pier extension, and unless the War Department
permits a second encroachment of another 100 feet the proposed White Star
monster will not be able to dock in the Chelsea district.

Thus far the Hamburg-American Line, the North-German Lloyd Line, and the
Holland-American Line have not asked for pier extension in Hoboken, but it
is contended that if they bring to this port ships big enough to warrant
such extension it is only fair for the War Department to give them what it
gave the White Star.

With the 950-foot Imperator on the west shore of the North River and the
900-foot Aquitania and the proposed 928-foot [sic] White Star liner on the
east side there is bound to be considerable change in the pier line.


Mark Baber

Staff member
MAB note: I love it!

The Washington Times, 30 November 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

White Star Liner Is To Have Golf Links
New White Star liner is to have golf links and cricket field, but until they
have a trout stream and a deer woods it cannot be said that the company is

Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

>>MAB note: I love it!<<

Wanna set up a match? I'm sure we can find somebody willing to keep some "creative scorekeeping."

Mark Baber

Staff member
New-York Tribune, 4 December 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

White Star Keeps Secret, but Some Facts Are Known
(By Cable to The Tribune)

London, Dec. 4---Despite the fact that the keel of the new mammoth White Star
liner was laid at Belfast on Saturday the company remains as secretive about
the vessel's dimensions as the Admiralty is with regard to the latest

Preparations at the shipyard, however, confirm the predictions that the
liner will be about 992 feet long and 94 feet broad.

Equally important is the statement made by one excellent authority that she
will be a very fast vessel, rivaling in that respect the Cunarders Lusitania
and Mauretania.

The passenger accommodation on the new vessel will be planned on novel
lines, the experience gained since the Olympic took up service having shown
that the demand of wealthy passengers for expensive suites of rooms was no
mere passing whim.



Just to add to the Gigantic/Britannic discussion, I saw this paragraph recently on the Great Ocean Liners website:

Published in the New York Times on September 17, 1892.

The White Star Company has commissioned the great Belfast shipbuilders Harland & Wolff to build an Atlantic steamer that will beat the record in size and speed. She has already been named Gigantic, and will be 700 feet long, 65 feet 7½ inches beam and 4,500 horsepower. It is calculated that she will steam 22 knots an hour, with a maximum speed of 27 knots. She will have three screws, two fitted like the Majestic’s, and the third in the centre. She is to be ready for sea in March 1894.

To me it seems this liner (Gigantic) was to have been a larger version of White Star's Teutonic and Majestic, with three screws instead of two. There is no tonnage figure but I suspect it would have been 15,000 to 17,000 tons, roughly the size of the 1899 Oceanic. The only thing that confuses me is how in the heck would this ship reach 27 knots from only 4,500 horsepower engines. Maybe its a 22 knots for 1894 would have been very fast, never mind 27 knots as top speed. Would gladly like to know more about this liner, if anything is available. Kinda makes me want to design such a ship :)