Summary of Firstclass public rooms written by Nigel Bryant


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Nigel Bryant

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I thought I would give a summary of the main public rooms in first-class. This information is mainly based on Olympic’s interiors because of the lack of photographs taken of Titanic herself. This summary is not only to help me on my own research but to help others as well who marvel at the luxurious furnishings that really make this ship a floating palace. Please send me any feedback if you wish. It was quite an effort. Any persons who have an interest in the Titanic can use this description if they wish.


A DECK

The Grand Staircase

The showpiece of the Olympic-class vessels was the Grand Staircase. The staircase was located between the first and second funnels and extended through six decks. The style of the staircase was done up in late 17th century William and Mary Style, and included wrought iron work and glittering details which dawned the oak balustrades. The main stunning architecture was situated in A-deck foyer, where the staircase was capped by huge wrought iron dome where a large chandelier graced the center. At the landing of the stairs were two carved figures surrounding a clock. The depiction was to symbolize
Honor and Glory crowing time. Each foyer besides D-deck was paneled in rich carved oak and the floor was laid with linoleum tiles with decorative black patterns against a white background. Behind the Grand Staircase were three elevators.

The Reading and Writing Room

The Reading and Writing Room was located forward of the lounge and was reserved for woman. The room was done up in late Georgian style and was paneled in white with delicate molded details which graced the walls and the ceiling. In keeping with the Smoking Room this room received a large fireplace with an electric clock, which was on top of the mantelpiece. When one walked into the room, the sudden impression would be the space. The room was so spacious that additional staterooms were added because of the high demand for passenger accommodations, which was found on Titanic. Large windows including a rounded bay offered a pleasant sea view, but this was somewhat restricted on Titanic because of the addition of an enclosed promenade, one of Titanic improvements. The room was carpeted in a dark pink and was expansively fitted out with armchairs and writing desks.

The Lounge

The lounge was situated in the center of A-deck between the second and third funnels. The room was done up in Louis Quinze style. The walls were decorated in oak paneling with intricate carved details. A fireplace with a large mirror was situated at the forward wall and abreast the third funnel casing stood a mahogany bookcase where a passenger could sit comfortable in a chair and read a novel. The floor was covered in an ornate carpet and the large bay windows gave a superb view of the sea. The most interesting feature was the large chandelier that graced the center of the ceiling. I suspect that one of the five pianos was also placed in this room. To me, this was the finest room aboard the Olympic-class vessels.

The Smoking Room

This room was reserved for males only and was situated at the aft end of A-deck promenade. This room was done up in a Georgian style. It was paneled in the best mahogany with painted stained glass windows, which could be lighted from behind creating a warm atmosphere. The furniture ranged from leather chairs to playing tables with cup holders underneath to prevent a glass from sliding off in unstable sea conditions. A fireplace stood at the aft wall and above was a painting of Plymouth Harbor by artist Norman Wilkinson. Both rooms on Titanic and Olympic had a different look regarding linoleum tile colours. Titanic’s tiles were coloured in a dark blue and red while Olympic’s tiles were coloured in a green and brown. There is now debate if Titanic’s chairs were changed to a burgundy colour, but with no photographic evidence ever taken of the room know one will ever know. Olympic’s chairs were covered in dark green leather in keeping with her tile colours. These slight differences gave each room its own distinctive character.

The Veranda and Palm Courts

The Veranda and Palm Courts were two identical rooms situated on both port and starboard sides of the ship. These rooms were done up in a Mediterranean style and featured large arch windows which overlooked the promenade on A-deck. Dark green trellising allowed ivy to climb up the walls. The reason for this was to give an impression that passengers were on land instead of being on sea. The wicker furniture gave such an informal look compared to the rest of the interiors of the ship that passengers would be somewhat relieved when entering the light airy cafe. The floor tiles were assembled in a checkered effect and were coloured brown and white.


B DECK

The A la Carte Restaurant

The A la Carte Restaurant was located on B-deck just near the Aft Grand Staircase. This room was an alternative to the Dining room, which had a fixed standard menu. The room was paneled in French walnut with gilded details and in a style of Louis XVI. The room was carpeted in a dark rosy colour and crystal chandeliers hanged from the delicately modeled ceiling. A total of 49 tables graced the room, each with their own pink shaded crystal lamp. The chairs were covered in a peachy colour inlaid with an ornate gold pattern. This room was so popular on the Olympic that the restaurant on Titanic was extended. Titanic also received its own reception adjacent to the restaurant.

The Café Parisian

The Café Parisian was located just parallel to the reception room and restaurant. This room was painted white with trellising for ivy to grow up the walls and the floor was pine decking. This room was first introduced on Titanic and then added later on Olympic, as it proved so popular. The room was to simulate a sidewalk café. The main highlights of this room were the large windows that overlooked the sea. The white wicker furniture gave an informal setting like the Veranda and Palm Court and it was particularly popular with the younger passengers.

D DECK

The Reception Room

The Reception room was located on D-deck, and was accessible from the Grand Staircase. This room extended the whole width of the ship and was paneled in white with modeled ceilings and crystal chandeliers. The arch windows were lit from behind bathing everything with a permanent light. The furniture was wicker and was arranged in groups, which were placed around the room. This room also included a black grand piano, palm trees and immediately opposite the stairs was a French tapestry portraying a medieval hunting. The floor was covered in rich Axminster carpet but Titanic and Olympic differed in carpet designs. Titanic’s carpet was colored in a dark green with a gold ornate pattern while Olympic’s carpet was a dark red with a blue overlapping pattern.

The Dining Saloon

The Dining Saloon was the largest room afloat and could seat 550 people. The room was done up in 17th century Jacobean Style and was paneled in white with carvings and beautiful modeled ceilings. The room was divided up in alcoves where passengers could dine privately. The alcoves featured large lead glass windows, which could be lit from behind. The furniture was oak and the chairs were intricately carved and were covered in dark green leather. The tables seated eight to four people in single seating. The chairs were not bolted to the floor like other liners but moved on pinion set that was placed into the floor, to ensure there was enough space for a passenger to sit comfortably. The floor was laid with linoleum tiles and the pattern was very ornate. The colours of the tiles are still in debate, but I presume the background was blue and the overlaid pattern was red and yellow. An upright piano was placed abreast the second funnel casing, which was used by the band or for hymn services.

Bibliography

Titanic by Leo Marriott. First published in 1997 by Promotional Reprint Book Company Ltd.
Titanic by Peter Thresh. First published in 1992 by Parkgate Books Ltd.
James Cameron’s Titanic Explorer interactive CD-ROM

Written by Nigel Bryant
Email: [email protected]
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nigel,

You forgot a couple of references. Allow me to complete your bibliography:

Both rooms on Titanic and Olympic had a different look regarding linoleum tile colours. Titanic’s tiles were coloured in a dark blue and red while Olympic’s tiles were coloured in a green and brown. There is now debate if Titanic’s chairs were changed to a burgundy colour, but with no photographic evidence ever taken of the room know one will ever know.

This is taken almost verbatim from one of my e-mails to you, and the bit about burgandy furniture coverings was my speculation, not my conviction. I'm still working on the issue, and wasn't ready for that idea to be publicised. Also, Ken Marschall is the one who has observed blue-and-red Smoking Room tiles from the wreck site, a fact I conveyed to you, but which you failed to mention.

The colours of the tiles are still in debate, but I presume the background was blue and the overlaid pattern was red and yellow.

No, I have presumed and you have argued with me over it (which I why I'm surprised to read here that you presume). My Dining Saloon tile rendition is a work-in-progress, and as you know (because I've explained it to you) I'm putting a lot of my own work into determining why the background should be blue, white or whatever. Do you even know why I think there is blue in the background of Titanic's tile (and it's not because of the colour postcard from Olympic)? The "debate" you mentioned is between myself and Ken, because we're the only ones working on colour renditions of tiles. The only reference you have on this is my website (which is also the reference for the wheelhouse tile question you posted on another list) and my responses to your numerous queries.

The chairs were not bolted to the floor like other liners but moved on pinion set that was placed into the floor, to ensure there was enough space for a passenger to sit comfortably.

Another concept on which you argued against my position, so I'm surprised to see my side of the argument stated here as your own opinion. Then again, I know you asked another about it and received the same answer, so maybe he convinced you. By the way, the Olympic-class ships were not the only ones to have a similar arrangement that allowed the chair to have limited movement.

I'm very upset that I shared some ideas with you, only to see you posting them to the world, claiming them as your own and offering for anyone to use them as they see fit. And from talking with others, I find that my ideas aren't the only ones that you've assumed without crediting the proper source. I have a suggestion, offered constructively...unless you want to start doing your own search through primary resources, you had best start crediting the people who have graciously shared their hard-earned research with you.

Parks
 

Eric Sauder

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I have to agree with everything that Parks says above. I'd like to point to one particular example:

Parks wrote: "And from talking with others, I find that my ideas aren't the only ones that you've assumed without crediting the proper source."

Since I happen to be one of the "others" mentioned above, I thought I should add something. In another thread on ET (Technical/Construction/Design/Opinions), Nigel wrote:

"Olympic's unenclosed promenade deck gives her the appearance of a Victorian steamer while the Titanic's enclosed promenade deck looks toward the future, when all ships would gain enclosed promenade decks. But this is just my opinion."

This opinion of Nigel's (!) is nearly the exact wording I sent him in an e-mail on 25 April in response to a question about which ship I prefer, Olympic or Titanic. To quote from my e-mail:

"To me, Olympic's unenclosed prom deck gives her the appearance of a Victorian steamer while Titanic's enclosed prom deck seems to look toward the future when all ships had enclosed proms."

Enough said.

Eric Sauder
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nigel,

Speaking for myself, I don't want you to take back what you wrote. I am glad that someone summarised the information about Titanic's open rooms for the education of others. All I wanted to point out is:

- When you're asking others for information, be upfront with what you want the information for. That not only looks good for you, but also helps the person donating the information.

- Credit your sources, whether they be from a book, CD, website or personal correspondence. I have no problem with you using any material I give you, as long as I get proper credit for the work I put into digging up the information.

Titanic is a hobby, not a business, with me. The rules are even more strict for people who depend on Titanic or historical research for their livelihood. However, I consider my time to be just as costly, in that I should be spending my free time on my family, rather than on drawing floor tiles (or whatever) from an ancient, sunken ship. More often than not, I end up doing my Titanic work when I could be sleeping, which makes me a grumpy person. And to top it all, I am doing this for free...I'm not asking for money, just a little respect and credibility for the work that I do.

So, I'm sorry that I had to be firm on this, and I certainly don't mean to shut you down. I hope that you will learn from this and continue the research that you're pursuing.

Parks
 

Eric Sauder

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Once again Parks has said exactly what I would have had I been a little faster on the draw. I am very happy to share what I know, especially with the next generation of enthusiast. It makes all the years (well, decades really) of research worthwhile, knowing that someone else is just as interested as I am in what has been a life-long pasttime.

My only caveat is always give credit where credit is due.

Eric Sauder
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 25, 2001
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Nigel
Don't say that! It's a great report, you just need to credit more people. You don't have to do it all in the bib, just include it in the text.
For instance, instead of "The colours of the tiles are still in debate, but I presume the background was blue and the overlaid pattern was red and yellow", write "The colours of the tiles are still in debate, but the most plausible theory is that the background was blue and the overlaid pattern was red and yellow"
Speaking of which, since you are writing a professional paper, you really should ask people for permission to publicize their ideas and theories. I don't mean to sound harsh, but if you actually published this on ET (or anywhere else), being badmouthed on a message board would be the least of your worries. Not properly citing info online infringes on copyrights.
Anyway, enough legal stuff. I really liked your paper, but it could use some work if it is going to be put on ET. Avoid using terms like "I," "My" or other pronouns. If you rewrote it with more references and in a more serious and professional tone, it could be a wonderful report and a possible major resource of ET.
There were, however, several spaces that you left out.
Here is a list:
The Gym
The A la Carte Reception Room on B Deck
The Swimming Pool
The Turkish Baths
The Squash Court
Optional Rooms:
The Barber Shop
The Maid/Valet's Dining Room

And don't make such a big deal about the GSC. True, it was a magnificent area, but it technically wasn't a public room. Stairways were just that-stairways, not public rooms. In a way, the A Deck foyer was a sitting room of sorts, but no more. Your description of it is one of the longest in your paper. If you do include it, just give a short description of the style and size, but don't make it too long.
happy.gif

I hope you decide to rewrite it rather than scrap the whole thing!
happy.gif


Good Luck,
David

PS-If you need any assistance AT ALL, I would love to help. You can email me privately.
 

Nigel Bryant

Member
Jan 14, 2001
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Wellington, New Zealand
To, Parks, Eric and David

This was a big learning curve and I thank you for your support.I sometimes just need to sit and think, before I rush into things and without giving any credit that was just bizarre and complete unnecessary. I need to think before I act. It was taking advantage of the historians that actually research and share the information to me, so I can actually write a professional report on the subject. I would like to thank those truly great historians like Parks, Eric and you David who research is very valuable to me. I will be rewriting my report with credited sources sometime in the future but at the moment here is my full bibliography for the article that was written above.

Bibliography:

Titanic by Leo Marriott. First published in 1997 by Promotional Reprint Book Company Ltd.
Titanic by Peter Thresh. First published in 1992 by Parkgate Books Ltd.
James Cameron’s Titanic Explorer interactive CD-ROM

Websites:

http://www.flash.net/~sparks12/titanic.html

This was a very informative site which that helped my to understand the floor colourings and is truly a great site to visit. The site is by Parks Stevenson who has given my a great deal of information through corresponding to him. Thank you Parks for the great information carefully researched and keep up the great work.

I also correspond to Eric Sauder one of the most influential researchers to me. He has given me his own opinions and research that is very valuable to me. His wonderful books on the Lusitania subject gets me more fascinated with that ship everyday. He also has a great website that is very informative and has helped me to understand about the " Lost Liners" I hope you and your Brother continue to keep up the great work. It is truly admired.

The link: http://www.pbs.org/lostliners/diagram.html

A special thanks to David, who I have just met recently on ET and I look forward to writing to him in the future.

Regards Nigel
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Nigel,

That description could be turned into an article for ET with the extra information and credits, I am sure many people would be very interested.

By the way, Eric, could you check one of our discussions about Britannic's fittings, in the Other Ships & Shipwrecks folder 'Report of a Formal Investigation into the Sinking of HMHS Britannic'? (We got a bit off topic!)

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 25, 2001
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Nigel,
Do you have Mark Warren's Shipbuilder book? It is an invaluble resource for historions of pre-WW1 liners. As far as Titanic interiors go, there is a very detailed description of the additional public rooms in Titanic. It mainly covers B Deck, and holds one of the best descriptions of the B Deck Reception Room.
Oh, and you left out a VERY important website in your bibliography:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/index.html

David
 

Nigel Bryant

Member
Jan 14, 2001
532
7
263
Wellington, New Zealand
Thanks David,

I dont have Mark Warren's Shipbuilder book. I am going to do some research on those additonal rooms though especally the Reception Room, Barber Shop and the Maid/Valet's Dining Room.

Bibliography( CON'T)

http:
//www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/index.html

This is a great website by Philip Hind. His carefully researched passenger groups and detail ship plans make this site one of the best on the web. His disscusion board has not only let me learn more about the Titanic, I have also met some really great people who share their ideas on this public messageboard and who also contact me privately. Keep up the great work Philip!

Regards Nigel
 
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