Titanic's Second Class main staircase

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Jan 7, 2002
I have noticed that the main 2nd class staircase on Olympic and Titanic looks quite similar to the same areas on other White Star liners, but can't recall the specific ships I am thinking of....

Some friends have even suggested to me the style of decor in Titanic/Olympic's 2nd class areas were heavily influenced, and at times copied from 1st class on some older white Star liners.

What do you all think?
Im developing a keen interest in Titanic's 2nd class spaces, because in part I find it's often overlooked in favor of 1st and 3rd class...(such has certainly been true in Titanic films)

Tarn Stephanos
Nov 9, 2002
Hey Tarn,

Yes it is a shame that second class areas are often overlooked. The Second Class Staircase has always been interesting to me. What I find really neat is how the aft mast was part of it as a column. Thats pretty neat that there was a piano too!

Anyways getting back to the point. I think the staircase was probably modelled after another ship. I heard this was true about the First Class Lounge and how it was modelled after another ship but just enlarged. There was a Titanic program on tv some while back and a man was explaining how the Titanic wasn't a drastic change to how the White Star Line usually designed the interior of their ships. I think he said it was like "being at your grandmothers house".
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Seems to me yoou chaps have hit on an often overlooked reality of the Olympic and Titanic as they really were. Titanic the mythos holds that these ships were the latest, the greatest, the best-est, the most luxurious, and any other superlatives that one might care to add to paint them as the next great revolution in shipbuilding.

In reality, they were anything but that, and the only real landmark they set was in terms of size, and with Balin's giants on the ways in Germany, even that was soon to be beat.

Take a look at a lot of the ships that Harland And Wolff built at that time and you'll tend to notice that there were a lot of characteristics that the ships shared from the smallest to the largest...including the extended forecastle. Seen objectively, there was very little about an Olympic class liner that was really new. What they did was tend to improve on what had been done previously. Evolutionary in all reality, not revolutionary.
May 1, 2004
Pacifique du Nord
As was said of the difference between The RMS Queen Mary and the SS Normandie, the former was evolutionary, the latter revolutionary.

The Oly. class liners were exactly as Michael S. has stated. Just much, much bigger. But the same architects.

The award for beauty (some of it admittedly over the top) goes the C.G.T. The German liners were somewhat vulgarly overloaded w/fussy grandeur. Instead of moving forward Hapag and N.G.L. went backwards. Not to mention most of those 'big three' Bismark, Vaterland, and Imperator were so top heavy they could roll the milk out of a cup of tea (a moniker also attributed to the RMS Queen Mary).
Dec 7, 2000

One ship in particular that I can recall is the Ceramic, but that was post Olympic/Titanic, however one of the rooms (might be a Smoke Room) looked very similar to the 2nd class staircase paneling. Of course while looking through brochures for White Star Line, it is very easy to spot similar paneling from other ships.

The Smoking Room style paneling was used on a few ships. The advantage with Olympic and Titanic, is that these ships allowed some of the great design to be used on a larger scale, such as with the Lounge (from Oceanic) and the Smoke Room (from Adriatic and some other ships, I think the Baltic as well). I can't recall whether the staircase paneling used on Olympic was previously used on other ships, but the style of dome and the large chandelier certainly were -- these of course were also used on a larger scales on Olympic and Titanic.

Considering that "A Heaton & Co." were interior designers for a lot of the Harland and Wolff built White Star Line ships, it is not surprising that so many of their designs and concepts were on so many ships.


Tripp Carter

Dec 13, 1998
I recall seeing some artist conceptions a long time ago of the second class areas and I recall seeing 2 cherubs on the railing of the stairs. I think they might be some images from (I'm having a memory lapse but the guy who's prints are very famous is a member of this site). I have a feeling I'm totally out in left field, I'll try to provide better clarification as soon as I can remember what I'm talking about.
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