What if the Olympic wasn't scrapped in 1935?


Nov 28, 2020
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Money, money money.

Preserving the Olympic was never an option. Scrapping her was ultimately the right thing to do.

To keep going after 1934, Olympic would have needed numerous big refits and brought up to ever changing safety standards perhaps every ten years or so. None of that would be cheap.

On the Olympic serving in the Second World War and potentially saving survivors from the Laconia, that's really not something that is likely to have occurred. If she had still been around then a big, relatively fast ship like the Olympic would most likely that she have served on the Clyde and/or Mersey runs to New York and Halifax. There is no reason why the Olympic should have been near the coast of West Africa where Laconia was sunk.

The Aquitania was in a really sorry state after the Second World War. In 1949 she was in an embarrassing state and was far too expensive to operate any longer. Cunard of course could have completely re-fitted the ship but it would have cost a staggering, ridiculous amount of money to do so especially in a financial crippled post-war "austerity" Britain. Olympic would very likely have been in exactly the same circumstances had she still been afloat after the war.

As the owners of the Queen Mary have been finding out in the last few years, keeping these monsters afloat and in good condition after so many decades is an uphill task. Costs escalate year after year. Questions begin to be asked about how long the flow of money will continue to flow.

They ultimately did the right thing scrapping both the Olympic (and the Mauritania and the Berengaria).

Scrapping the Olympic and the Berengaria's superstructure actually was a good thing for the town of Jarrow in County Durham, England.

For a while it provided much needed employment for several hundred men of the town, located in one of the worst hit areas by the Great Depression. In her death, by providing work to these men, the Olympic was actually helping to put food in the bellies of starving young kids and ensuring that they had a roof over their heads.

I really cannot stress hard enough just what the people of Tyneside and Wearside in England suffered during the Great Depression. The coal mines and the shipyards were mostly derelict. Tens of thousands of proud, hardy, working class "Geordie" men were unemployed and desperate for work to feed their families, put clothes on their backs and pay the rent or the doctors bill. In their "death" Olympic and Berengaria at the very least went a little way to alleviate this.

Her bare hulk was then towed to Inverkeithing in Fife, Scotland, again another coal mining area just like Tyneside and Wearside that was hit right between the eyes by the Great Depression with thousands of men unemployed and with wolves at the door. The Olympic again provided more much needed local employment as the work began to complete the scrapping.

Olympic was a truly great, beautiful ship but every story must have an ending.
sounds like you don't care about Olympic at all
 

real_richest

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well scraping wouldn't be a great idea, why they could've got her a lot of refits and remodeling, to keep the ship more stable, they could've got her new funnels, new engines, new stuff for the oylimpic. and if it wasn't it look more like this today
1616852516562.png
or this
1616852541088.png
or this
1616852566489.png
Get the picture
 
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Seumas

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well scraping wouldn't be a great idea, why they could've got her a lot of refits and remodeling, to keep the ship more stable, they could've got her new funnels, new engines, new stuff for the oylimpic. and if it wasn't it look more like this today
View attachment 76081 or this
View attachment 76082 or this
View attachment 76083 Get the picture
Are you talking about the Olympic or the Queen Mary ?

You need to improve the structure of your posts and make them clearer.
 

Cam Houseman

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You need to improve the structure of your posts and make them clearer.
Seumas, I don't think that tone will help anything (not in a rude way)

He says:
"well scraping wouldn't be a great idea, why they could've got her a lot of refits and remodeling, to keep the ship more stable, they could've got her new funnels, new engines, new stuff for the oylimpic. and if it wasn't it look more like this today"

he meant the Olympic. hope this helped
 

Seumas

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Seumas, I don't think that tone will help anything (not in a rude way)

He says:
"well scraping wouldn't be a great idea, why they could've got her a lot of refits and remodeling, to keep the ship more stable, they could've got her new funnels, new engines, new stuff for the oylimpic. and if it wasn't it look more like this today"

he meant the Olympic. hope this helped
It's still a very poorly constructed post with a rather silly sentiment that doesn't take reality into account.
 

Jim Currie

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Moderator's hat on:

Leave matters like this for the Moderators to address, if necessary.

Moderator's hat off.
With respect.Mark, I suggest to you the structure of a post is outside the remit of a Moderator. Surely your remit is to ensure that a member is not offended by the content of a post?

This is a "What if"..light hearted inquiry based on modern day thinking processes. Basically, the resondents forget the process of economics which have always been the same'.
A ship as a thing of beauty is secondary to it's basic function which was, and still is - to make money. The prevailing economic situation it the 1930s world made the idea of keeping an old rust bucket absurd. There was even then, a world shorage of steel. A few years later - during WW2 there was such a shortage of steel in the UK that public and private railings around property and parks were cut down and removed for steel scrap. I remember seeing it actually happen.
A ship as an " artifact" can only remain as such as long as it either earns money or is allowed to consume a great deal of the stuff.

The idea is not daft if the sooth-sayers of 1935 hd been able to foresee ANTR or the razz-a-ma-tazz that has surrounded the "Big boat with 4 chimneys" ever since then.:p:D
 
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Mark Baber

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With respect.Mark, I suggest to you the structure of a post is outside the remit of a Moderator. Surely your remit is to ensure that a member is not offended by the content of a post?
That's certainly part of it, Jim, but not the entirety. Although it's been quite a few years, there have been episodes where unorthodox spelling, punctuation, grammar or a combination, rendered messages unintelligible and generated as much discussion about what a message meant as about the subject.

Our charge from Phil is to maintain a certain quality of discussion here. if the style utilized in a message detracts from the quality of the discussion, it will be addressed by us.
 
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Cam Houseman

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wow what a bully
It's still a very poorly constructed post with a rather silly sentiment that doesn't take reality into account.
Well I mean, he has stated he is 11 in the past, I wasn't a writing genius either then, not that I am now ;)

>post with a rather silly sentiment that doesn't take reality into account.<

Well I mean, the topic of the post is about Olympic not being scrapped in 1935-1937. I think we're departing reality and entering a "what if" scenario. We do this all the time when coming up with theories for how Titanic sank, or what Titanic and her crew could've done differently to avoid the disaster. As for the sentiment, Olympic was the last of the Olympic class, and the only one who had a flourished career, and she definitely deserved the name "Old Reliable". Many then were sad to see her head to Jarrow, and many still are to this day. We understand that Jarrow needed work and money, the poor people who lived there needed to live. It was the right decision by Sir John!

But the sentiment is ok. We all have sentiment towards Titanic, Britannic, Lusitania, etc.
because we can think of fun topics like:
-what if she was around for the movie?
-what if she served in WW2?
-what if she ended up like Nomadic?
-What if she became a museum?


we have addressed the reality of what happened many times, it's nice to wonder sometimes what "could have been"

PS: nothing in this message was meant in a rude way :)
 

Mark Baber

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Moderator's hat on:

Time to return to the subject and drop discussions of one another.

Moderator's hat off
 
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Well I mean, he has stated he is 11 in the past, I wasn't a writing genius either then, not that I am now ;)

>post with a rather silly sentiment that doesn't take reality into account.<

Well I mean, the topic of the post is about Olympic not being scrapped in 1935-1937. I think we're departing reality and entering a "what if" scenario. We do this all the time when coming up with theories for how Titanic sank, or what Titanic and her crew could've done differently to avoid the disaster. As for the sentiment, Olympic was the last of the Olympic class, and the only one who had a flourished career, and she definitely deserved the name "Old Reliable". Many then were sad to see her head to Jarrow, and many still are to this day. We understand that Jarrow needed work and money, the poor people who lived there needed to live. It was the right decision by Sir John!

But the sentiment is ok. We all have sentiment towards Titanic, Britannic, Lusitania, etc.
because we can think of fun topics like:
-what if she was around for the movie?
-what if she served in WW2?
-what if she ended up like Nomadic?
-What if she became a museum?


we have addressed the reality of what happened many times, it's nice to wonder sometimes what "could have been"

PS: nothing in this message was meant in a rude way :)
There's nothing wrong with speculating about what could have been. Might help decisions in the future. Would have been nice if they could have saved her but at the time it was the best choice. Besides if we saved every ship there wouldn't be dock space for the ships we need today. I'm glad we saved the ships we have. There's so many good ones to go see. At least she was well documented and in a way still saved in a virtual reality sense. 30 years ago I could never have seen all the info on her that I can now. But granted its not the same as actually stepping aboard her. It's one of the reasons I like restoring old machines. Although my motive is somewhat different as in it's fun to use them once there done, not just look at them.
As for writing...I probably wrote better when I was 11 than I do now. At least I could read my own hand writing...LOL. But I guess that probably won't even be an issue in the future as I understand a lot of schools don't even teach cursive anymore. But I get it. Probably less than 1% of the writing I do anymore is longhand. Cheers.
 
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Mike Spooner

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Getting back to the thread:
What if the Olympic wasn't scrapped in 1935?
Well I am afraid the ship would be a heap of rust by now as they are finding out with a ship 25 years younger Queen Mary in California!
If you want a ship to last for ever you don't use mild steel, not an less it made from 6"-8" thick where rust rate will takes longer. The weight of the ship would become enormous requiring more horse power and running costs. You build a ship for a commercial price only to last for x amount of years. After 30 years the ship technology has move on to something more up to date and economical to.
To make from stainless steel the cost would of be astronomical. Stainless does always offer the best tensile strength for hulls and will work harden at a quicker rate to.
 
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Getting back to the thread:
What if the Olympic wasn't scrapped in 1935?
Well I am afraid the ship would be a heap of rust by now as they are finding out with a ship 25 years younger Queen Mary in California!
If you want a ship to last for ever you don't use mild steel, not an less it made from 6"-8" thick where rust rate will takes longer. The weight of the ship would become enormous requiring more horse power and running costs. You build a ship for a commercial price only to last for x amount of years. After 30 years the ship technology has move on to something more up to date and economical to.
To make from stainless steel the cost would of be astronomical. Stainless does always offer the best tensile strength for hulls and will work harden at a quicker rate to.
Just curious. What type of steel do they make ships out of today? I remember the debate about constructing warships with a lot of aluminum above the waterline and what a mistake that turned out to be according to some (Falklands war). But that debate had been going on long before that war. You are right about stainless steel. Very expensive. I could tell you a somewhat funny story about stainless but it would be off topic. I'll just say it made the scrap man a very happy camper when he came to my power plant. Cheers.
 
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Mike Spooner

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What type of steel used for ship hull is an interesting question and has change considerable from the past whether for military or commercial use. Where the steel is made in the first place. You may have the same steel specification made in different places around the world, but doesn't mean is the same quality. As Italian steel was regard one of the worse for rust for years. Hence Italian cars known as the rust buckets of Europe. However I may be bit unfair to say the largess cruise ship builder is in Italy Fincantieri. I cant say for sure if they are using Italian steel. But when sailing on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth built by Fincantieri just 3 and half years old I was quite shocked to see the amount of rust she had. Maintenance plays a big part of fighting rust off. As on the P&O ship Arcadia an older ship and same hull built by Fincantieri had far less rust!
Cruise ships are using higher tensile strength steel where they only taken advantage by making of thinner steel plates. Where quite frankly good maintaining is more importance role than before. The best way to fight of rust is have the whole hull hot dip galvanizing. However every hole must be predrilled before plating and great care in handling and transport not to damage the plating. With those weights involved easy done so.
The galvanizing tank would have to be the size of a dry dock! The running costs would be quite astronomical to do so.
The strongest ship we have to day made from thicker steel like the Queen Mary 2. A Liner and NOT a cruise ship! Built for speed and rough weather. Cruise ships do not have the strength of a liner, will if possible avoid rough weather. If cant avoid rough weather have to back off there speed. For a rough Atlantic crossing my first choice has to be the Queen Mary 2. But on that ship still requires good maintenance to beat of the rust.
 
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What type of steel used for ship hull is an interesting question and has change considerable from the past whether for military or commercial use. Where the steel is made in the first place. You may have the same steel specification made in different places around the world, but doesn't mean is the same quality. As Italian steel was regard one of the worse for rust for years. Hence Italian cars known as the rust buckets of Europe. However I may be bit unfair to say the largess cruise ship builder is in Italy Fincantieri. I cant say for sure if they are using Italian steel. But when sailing on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth built by Fincantieri just 3 and half years old I was quite shocked to see the amount of rust she had. Maintenance plays a big part of fighting rust off. As on the P&O ship Arcadia an older ship and same hull built by Fincantieri had far less rust!
Cruise ships are using higher tensile strength steel where they only taken advantage by making of thinner steel plates. Where quite frankly good maintaining is more importance role than before. The best way to fight of rust is have the whole hull hot dip galvanizing. However every hole must be predrilled before plating and great care in handling and transport not to damage the plating. With those weights involved easy done so.
The galvanizing tank would have to be the size of a dry dock! The running costs would be quite astronomical to do so.
The strongest ship we have to day made from thicker steel like the Queen Mary 2. A Liner and NOT a cruise ship! Built for speed and rough weather. Cruise ships do not have the strength of a liner, will if possible avoid rough weather. If cant avoid rough weather have to back off there speed. For a rough Atlantic crossing my first choice has to be the Queen Mary 2. But on that ship still requires good maintenance to beat of the rust.
Interesting. I didn't know that Italian steel had such a poor reputation. Never had an Italian car before. I was just wondering if they had a preferred alloy for ships today. Or if the upfront costs of a more expensive steel would pay off in the long run. I found a link but I don't know enough about it as to what the numbers actually mean. As for European sports cars the only ones I really like I couldn't justify laying out the cash it would take to get one.
 
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>>sounds like you don't care about Olympic at all<<

If I may, what does that have to do with anything?

Upkeep on any ship is a hugely expensive undertaking, even when you have a veritable army for a crew to do all the scut work which HAS to be done just to keep it from corroding away into a useless pile of rusty junk. Museum ships don't have armies of paid staff or even volunteers to do all of the essential upkeep and if you take a look at the museum ships now, you'll notice right off that a lot of them are in deep trouble.

Corrosion, and the funding to stay ahead of it while paying all of the other bills is big part of the reason why. This was a vexing problem even before COVID-19 turned the year 2020 into the year of WTF. and with tourism and the needed revenues from same right down in the tank because of this, some are in a fight for survival which they won't win.

I would love to have seen an Edwardian era liner preserved, but as a sailor, I'm also a realist about such things. The money needed for such a venture...and if I recall correctly, there were some proposals....to turn the Olympic into either a floating hotel, a cruise ship, and even a museum just wasn't there at the height of the Great Depression. We would be very hard pressed to make it happen even now.
 
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