Kevin, the Olympic was sold in 1935 and completely scrapped in 1936. The depression combined with Olympic's old age and style were what did her in. Unfortunate, considering she would've been great as a floating museum.
Kevin. To add to what Adam stated.
At this time, White Star and Cunard weren't doing very well, and the depression was taking its toll. Meanwhile, the brand new, ultra modern, art deco styled 1019.6 foot ship, job 534 which was to become better known as the Queen Mary, sat in the John Brown shipyard 6 months from launch. For 27 months she sat rusting away; all work had ceased on her, and 4,000 builders and 10,000 contractors were without jobs adding to the depression. The government finally made a compromise stating they would give a loan to complete her, IF the White Star line and Cunard merged. Reluctantly they did so, and it was Cunard's job to combine the two fleets. I imagine that since the Olympic had 20+ years in, she was one of the first choice to go.
The Queen Mary became a symbol of hope for all, moral and stock market rose, work resumed, and things started back on the road to recovery.
Given the time of decommission and sale of the Olympic, and the grand entrance of the Queen Mary, I have always felt that Olympics life was given in place of Queen Mary, and in my opinion, for a very worthy cause.
I believe a lot of the fittings from the Olympic may still be seen. When last I heard, the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick holds the complete dining saloon from her - ornate carvings, ballustrades and all.
Yes, Olympic met a natural death, a victim of the Cunard-White Star merger as well as the factors Adam cited.
But quite a few White Star ships met more violent ends, principally as war victims. The following ships were lost by White Star (or Cunard White Star) from 1869 on:
Atlantic, wrecked at Terence Bay, Nova Scotia, 1 April 1873; Naronic, went missing in the North Atlantic, February 1893; Republic I, sank off Nantucket after collision with Lloyd Italiano's Florida, 24 January 1909; Titanic, sank after striking iceberg off Newfoundland, 15 April 1912; Oceanic II, wrecked on Foula Island, 8 September 1914; Armenian, torpedoed off Cornwall, 29 June 1915; Arabic I, torpedoed off Old Head of Kinsale, 19 August 1915; Cymric, torpedoed 140 miles off Fastnet, 29 April 1916; Britannic II, sank off Kea Island after striking mine, 21 November 1916; Georgic I, sunk by Germant merchant raider 500 miles off Cape Race, 10 December 1916; Russian, torpedoed 210 miles east of Malta, 14 December 1916; Laurentic I, torpedoed off Lough Swilley, 25 January 1917; Afric, torpedoed 12 miles off Eddystone, 21 February 1917; Southland, torpedoed off Tory Island, 4 June 1917; Delphic I, torpedoed 125 miles off Bishop Rock, 16 August 1917; Celtic II, wrecked on Roches Point, 10 December 1928; Laurentic II, torpedoed off Bloody Foreland, 3 November 1940.
In addition, while not technically a White Star ship, Justicia was under the line's management when she was torpedoed to death in July 1918, while Baltic I, Asiatic I, Gaelic I, Belgic I, Doric I, Cufic I, Runic I, Medic, Runic II, Suevic, Traffic II, Zealandic, Ceramic, Bardic and Pittsburgh were lost after passing from White Star to other owners.
-- that Berengaria should have gone to the scrapyard in 1935 -- she was starting to suffer worsening electrical problems that would eventually force her out of service, guzzled fuel and was also suffering structural problems worse than Olympic. Cunard bias!
I imagine that since the Olympic had 20+ years in, she was one of the first choice to go.
At the time of the merger, Cunard and White Star owned five of the six largest ships in the world; only two (Berengaria and Aquitania, both Cunarders) would survive for more than two years. The merger became effective on 10 May 1934; Mauretania made her final crossing in September of that year, Olympic in March 1935, and Majestic in February 1936. Particularly with the impending arrival of QM, Cunard White Star simply didn't need all five for the Southampton-New York service, and there was no other practical use for ships of that size. Nonetheless, as Mark Chirnside suggests in what he posted while I was composing this, a reasonable argument can be made for the proposition that the sequence and timing of the retirements had as much to do with the funnel colors of the ships in question as with their competitive capabilities.
Mark. Ship #6, being the Normandie? I was unaware that Cunard monopolized 5 of 6 great liners with the merge. Thank you for pointing that out.
You are correct, the ships you noted that met with violent ends should not be forgotten either, and after I thought about my post, I hoped it wouldn't be taken as such. I wanted to convey my feelings that the Queen Mary had a purpose in the depression in getting so many people back to work again. (amongst other things.)
No, #6 was Leviathan; Normandie didn't arrive till 1935.
after I thought about my post, I hoped it wouldn't be taken as such
It wasn't, at least not by me. I hadn't seen yours when I wrote the list of White Star losses; the last one I had seen was Adam's. You're entirely correct---the resumption of construction on QM after the merger certainly did have a beneficial effect on employment, both in the John Brown yard and in the factories of all of its suppliers. But even without QM, at least two of the existing ships were going to have to go; CWS only needed three of them for the Southampton berth.
I felt this an approriate heading for my post this evening.
Some of OLYMPIC's elegant panels are *at sea* once more (I realize this is *old* news, just a *new* article with color photos)
The latest "American Heritage" periodical has a nice article..."Sailing On", pertaining to architectural relics from OLYMPIC and SSUS that have found their way to modern liners. I found it interesting that aboard MILLENNIUM, owing to the 3" thickness of the OLYMPIC panels and abiding to the modern safety-at-sea laws, a firewall surround was built. In effect a room within a room. (Reminds me of sheathing the exterior of bldgs., 3 stories + with *black* (High fire rating) drywall at LAKE TAHOE. Modern *on land* laws...
Oh and a portion of those lovely S.S.U.S. etched glass panels have also found a new home, *at sea* aboard INFINITY. Accented with gold and depicting ocean life. If you have never seen these panels in color, then you are in for a real treat...strikingly beautiful.
AS an aside to our passion...I see that Bouden-Smith (THS) is offering his "HISTORY OF THE WHITE STAR LINE" work thru a complimenting ad in this months SEA CLASSIC.
Thanks for sharing the aforementioned OLYMPIC fittings with us...this is the first time I have seen the entire lot in all of it's glory!
BTW, a prize piece of mine is a 1st class Dinner Menu from a voyage in 1922...adorning the cover is a *lady in red*, rendered lighting the dinner candles. In gold leaf above the lower border R.M.S OLYMPIC. Even the simpliest of her paper
fittings exemplify her "MAGNIFICENCE".
I am absent of a scanner , AAMOF I have never had the pleasure of owning one...:-( Otherwise I would love to share it.
Truly a pity. Perhaps had it not been for the depression, or if the Titanic interest had been as strong as it has been in recent years, Olympic would have gone where we all know she belonged: A marine museum somewhere.
Re: The Olympic. When I was 12 years old, my older brother took me on his motor-byke to a place that overlooked the Tyne near Wallsend where we watched the "Olympic" being towed to its final resting place wher it was broken up. This was in 1935. I remember feeling very sad as we saw this majestic Ocean Lady making her last port of call.