Olympic letter mentions upholstery


I have a letter written on Olympic in September, 1914 by Mrs. Belle Roosevelt, wife of Kermit and daughter-in-law of Theodore. In it, she writes a little about the ship:

"We are installed in a most sumptuous suite. Bedroom in white & blue, dressing room, & marble tiled bath and a most gorgeous dining saloon & salon upholstered in crimson damask!"

Where might this crimson damask be? The way she groups "saloon & salon" together, it seems (to me) to refer to the Reception Room, but that was green damask (TTSM Vol 2 p. 355). I can't think of any public room on Olympic in crimson, except maybe the maroon cushions in the Verandahs, but those rooms hardly fit the term "salon". Maybe the Restaurant Reception Room?

If it helps, it was written before sailing from New York so she must have entered through D Deck (right?)

I've included a picture of the letter, the handwriting is a bit difficult to read.

IMG_9413.jpg
 
I think it's possible that Mrs. Roosevelt was referring to one of the two "Millionaire's Suites" (B-51-53-55 and B-52-54-56, each with its own private promenade deck), and that she was describing the sitting room as a "dining saloon and salon" combined. The sitting room in those suites was furnished with a table and four chairs in the center, which could have been used for dining, if one cared to pay for such a service. There was also a sofa and other chairs in the sitting room.

Those suites had two bedrooms, two small wardrobe rooms (the "dressing room" she speaks of), the sitting room, a zoned bath with the toilet in its own small room, and of course, that private promenade.

I do think it's odd that she doesn't mention the private promenade, if she was in one of those suites; it was a vast luxury at the time.
 
Jake: Quite right you are, and serves me right for not checking before bumping my gums. I was perfectly all right until I mentioned the private promenade, LOL! I fell into the trap of thinking "Titanic and Olympic were basically identical," and didn't double-check.

Now that I HAVE double-checked, I see that Olympic's two super-luxury suites were essentially the same as Titanic's, but without the private promenades, exactly as you say. That makes them match Mrs. Roosevelt's description even better - they have the sitting room that could be described as "dining saloon and salon" combined, and the other rooms, as well.

By the way, am I the only one who feels these suites were rather oddly located, whether on Titanic or Olympic? They flanked a boiler casing, and they were also immediately adjacent to the Grand Staircase landing on B Deck, though there were doors between that landing and the passageway leading to the suites. They wouldn't have been easy to enter or leave from the staircase without being noticed (great for celeb-watchers) and they might have been a bit on the noisy side. Or perhaps soundproofing measures were taken.

On the other hand, the A La Carte restaurant was aft on B Deck, toward the stern, and there was no actual need for the suite's occupants to use the Grand Staircase or elevators along with everyone else, if they didn't want to.
 
Well, since Titanic initially sank on her maiden voyage, I would assume that the WSL would add the promenades to the Olympic to give customers a chance to experience them.

Not having studied Olympic's history, I don't know if perhaps they did add them after 1912, though.

Anyone else here have a better knowledge of Olympic's stateroom settings?
 
Jake: My understanding is that Olympic was never refitted with private promenades for its two super-luxury suites - although if anyone here knows different, I hope they'll enlighten me! Britannic was supposed to get them, in a different configuration that allowed more square footage within the suites themselves. Olympic's 1913 refit was mainly intended to address the lessons of Titanic's sinking - double-hulling her, reworking her watertight bulkheads for better compartmentalization, sound-proofing her Marconi room so that wireless operators could hear incoming messages no matter what, and of course, more lifeboats. These were very expensive changes, undertaken largely to reassure prospective passengers that everything possible was being done to avoid any repetition of Titanic's sinking, and I would venture to guess they didn't leave a lot of money for cosmetic or luxury improvements. To give an idea of how important they were seen to be, the reworking of bulkheads changed a number of passageways, making it more difficult to get from one part of the ship to another - and for once, passenger convenience was made to take a back seat to safety issues.

At any rate, since Mrs. Roosevelt's letter does not mention a private promenade, it seems pretty sure there wasn't one. For her not to mention it would be like having an outside balcony suite aboard the present Queen Mary and not mentioning the view.
 
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