Olympic breezy promenade


Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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Hi all
Can anyone please tell me why the forward promenade deck on Olympic was never enclosed, after Ismay thought it was a good design change for the Titanic And Brittanic to protect passengers from the elements in bad weather?

Seems strange when other Titanic like changes were included in later years (eg Cafe Parisien).

Thanks!
Sam
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
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Sam Brannigan asks:

Why the forward promenade deck on Olympic was never enclosed?

We will probably never know the real reasons behind this non-change in Olympic since all the decision makers involved are gone and probably have not left written instructions in the matter that their successors thought worth keeping. I do have a few thoughts though:

Tradition says that Ismay ordered the enclosure of the forward end of the first class promenade to keep passengers there dry -- but that may not be the whole story. Remember that Ismay left White Star after the Titanic and Sanderson took over afterwards. Sanderson may have felt that it was ill-advisable to enclose the deck. I list below the pro's and con's of the enclosed promenade. Ismay might have felt the pro's outweighed the con's and Sanderson felt the reverse. Since Sanderson was now in control, the decision was up to him.

Pro:

1. Novelty - Glass enclosed promenades were just coming into being and it was the last word in modernity.

2. Protection - Perhaps more from wind than spray since by all accounts Olympic was a "dry" ship and Lusitania a "wet" one, i.e., she threw a lot of spray.

3. Identity - Without this obvious modification, Olympic and Titanic would be almost identical.

4. Variety - 1st class passengers had the choice of a stroll under the stars (boat deck), sheltered (aft prom) or enclosed (forward prom). It is good salesmanship to give your customers a choice, even though the choice is meaningless.

5. Size - Ismay may have hoped that the enclosed promenade decks would be included in the ship's gross tonnage calculation, thus increasing the ship's size as a hedge against the Imperator class coming out the following year. (Gross tonnage survey laws, like tax laws, are very subjective. Owners of very large ships will occasionally petition for a re-survey hoping to INCREASE the size of their ship for publicity. Since port taxes are assessed on the basis of gross tonnage, the surveyors were probably pretty open minded, since you can never pay too much in taxes.)

Con:

1. Cost - White Star was being hit hard with the costs of new lifeboats, davits, bulkheads, etc., The cost of enclosing the promenade deck probably could not be justified.

2. Impairment of the value of Prom deck Cabins - Remember that the block of cabins forward on Prom deck looked out directly onto the walkway. When that walkway was open to the sea, those cabins all had a view and WS could charge more for it. After the side screen windows went up in Titanic, that view of the sea was for practical purposes eliminated and these expensive rooms looked into what was now practically a service hallway. WS might have gotten complaints in the matter.

3. Identity - The enclosed Promenade deck would now make Olympic look almost exactly like Titanic. This was certainly not desirable now. WS was so desperate to put the Titanic behind them that when the Britannic's specification book was drafted, citations referring to Olympic mention her by name but references to Titanic only specify her hull number... "Arranged as per 401"

Bill Sauder
 

Sam Brannigan

Member
Feb 24, 2007
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Hi Bill
Thank you for your extremely informative and interesting answer.It does seem strange that the same design was used on the Brittanic, possibly dispelling the "hideous ghost" theory.
It would be interesting to see Sanderson or Ismays diaries or WSL minutes from the time.

I think point 2 of your cons list is a very likely suspect.

I had no idea WSL were so sensitive about 401!

Kind regards
Sam
 
R

Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hi there,

Bill, I would like to add on your point one, that the Holland America Line was the first shippingindustry to enclose forward parts of the first class promenaddecks on their ships. This trend was setted by the in june 1908 launched "Rotterdam IV" and soon international followed.

Greetings Rollie
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Jan 18, 2009
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Sam you asked why the windows weren't closed off.
Well when the 3 were built the original idea was that each one would be better than the last after Titanic sank converting the Olympic would have made her look too much like her ill fated sister. Brittannic was given the enclosed promenade during constuction though an if you look at pictures of the Brittannic immediately after she was launched she already has the enclose windows.
It is however most likely that after she sank The White Star Line was in too much debt to do the same to Olympic and as I mentioned before they probably did not want her to look exactly like two ships that had sank. And as I mentioned with the money issue both of the big companies were driven almost entirely broke by WWI that is why Cunard and The White Star Line merged even though Cunard came out on top so to speak the wouldn't have been able to without the merge. The merge enabled Cunard to finish building The Queen Mary which would have sat as an empty hull till they got themoney to finish building her.
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Jan 6, 2001
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Hi all,

Another point, I thought that in case of an emergency on a Olympic class vessel(before the Titanic disaster)the boats had to be filled on A-deck.
As you know, this caused some confusion on Titanic when she was sinking, people didn't know where to board the lifeboat, A-deck or the Boat deck.

I thought White Star actually gave such an answer when being asked why Olympic didn't get the enclosed promenade after the first refit?

On Britannic this was not a problem after the Titanic disaster, as the boats were filled in there 'stations' underneath the huge new Gantry davits.

Regards,
Remco
 
J

Jake Angus

Guest
Was there a solid barrier between the open and enclosed portions of Titanic's A Deck promenade? Thick doors w/windows or something? Or was it just open to the sea so the enclosed promenade would have the benefit of ventilation?
 
B

Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi Jake!

The Titanic featured a solid steel barrier much like a bulkhead at A-Deck forward, it was shaped like a gull wing and had a plain steel door. While there was no window in the door itself, a square window was installed adjacent to the door.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
B

Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi Jake!

Here is a watercolor pencil drawing I did of the Forward A Deck bulkhead on Titanic.

77967.jpg


Best Regards,

Brian
 
J

Jake Angus

Guest
Brian, beautiful!
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Was there a door/bulkhead similar to that at the aft end?
 
B

Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi Jake!

Thanks
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No the aft end of the A Deck Promenade was open.

Best Regards,

Brian
 

Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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Hello Brian,

Your image looks more like a flipped and digitally altered image from Cameron's Titanic Explorer to me...
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Regards,
Remco
 
B

Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi Remco!

I can assure you while the watercolor rendering I made was inspired by Titanic Explorer, it is not a flipped digitally altered image. I depicted the port side bulkhead to make the image more unique.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Brian,

Photoshop is excellent for these type of things. Here's a watercolor that I did of this same area, only I painted this in black and white. I can assure you that I only based it on the Beken photo, but the painting is mine, original.

78010.jpg


Daniel.
 
J

Jake Angus

Guest
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When someone 'puts me down', Brian, I always consider the source!!!!!!!!!!!
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Philip Hind

Editor
Staff member
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Brian, amusing though your fanciful deceptions may be you are skirting close to the edge of legality. Since it is me and not you that will suffer most from any action brought as a result of copyright infringement on this site I must ask you to desist from further image uploading. You may of course host your own images and place links to them on your posts.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Brian,

I'm sorry if I offended you, but you are known to play with photoshop and you do some wonderful things when deceiving our eyes. This is fine, and you often admit to just joking around, but I honestly did not appreciate when you claim that picture to be your own original work, when it is quite clearly not. I don't know why photoshop's "watercolor" feature looks so unrealistic, and if anyone has ever used watercolors, they know that's not what the image looks like when finished. As I said, you're quite skilled with photoshop, but it's only fair that you credit the image to its original source.

Most of us on ET have Cameron's explorer, and are certainly familiar with the tour.

Best Regards,

Daniel.
 

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