The Nooks and Crannies of
First-class onboard the R.M.S Titanic
By Nigel Bryant
I thought I would take the opportunity
to summarize the main public rooms in the first-class section of
the R.M.S Titanic.
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.
Since most first-class
public rooms did not encourage physical fitness and exhaustion,
the Gymnasium was a unique treat. The Gymnasium was situated on
the boat-deck, behind the entrance to the Grand Staircase. It was
a long narrow room and the walls were painted white, the lower half
was paneled in dark wood. The gym featured a lot of fitness machines
including a weight machine, punching bag, bicycles, electrical camels
and a rowing machine. A bench was located in the middle of the room
where one could watch the activity going on and behind that was
a large information board, which showed a world map of the company
shipping routes. Also located on this board was advertising matter
of a cutaway profile of the Olympic-class steamers. The floor was
laid with linoleum tiles that were white and featured brown cut
diamonds. Seven arched windows let in a lot of natural light in
which was an added benefit for the room since it was located on
the Boat Deck.
The Grand Staircase
The showpiece of the
Olympic-class vessels was the elaborate 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. 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 Honour and Glory crowing time. Each foyer besides
D-deck and F-Deck was paneled in rich carved oak and the floor was
laid with linoleum tiles with decorative black patterns against
a white background.
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 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
and above was a large oval gilded mirror. 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 unique windows including a rounded bay offered great 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 fitted out with armchairs and writing
The only word, which
can describe the surroundings of this room, would be “luxury”.
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 and
the details were taken from the Palace of Versailles. The walls
were decorated in rich oak paneling with intricate carved details
and the room was split up into large alcoves that added privacy
to the most heated discussions between passengers. 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 down and read. The mantelpiece also featured a miniature
statue of a Greek goddess, which was one of the details copied from
Versailles. The floor was covered an ornate floral carpet and the
large bay windows gave an unbroken view of the sea. The furniture
ranged from soft easy chairs to tea tables. The most interesting
feature was the grand chandelier, which dominated the center of
the ceiling. A grand piano graced one corner of the room, where
passengers would later recall the upbeat tune of Alexander’s
Ragtime band being played with sprit on the keys.
The Aft Grand Staircase
The Aft Grand Staircase
was located between the third and fourth funnels and extended down
three decks. It featured the same oak wood balustrades as the forward
staircase and also featured the same style wrought iron dome above
the stairs. The only major differences were instead of having an
intricately carved clock on the landing it featured a less simple
version. Titanic’s A-deck foyer also had some added improvements.
Two additional staterooms, A-36 and A37 were placed both port and
starboard sides between the stairs. This idea was also added onboard
the Olympic in her 1913 refit. Immediately below the A-deck balcony
was the Restaurant’s reception room.
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. Four large bay windows
over looked the promenade, each window painted with unique patterns.
The furniture ranged from leather chairs to playing tables with
cup holders. A fireplace stood at the aft wall and above was a painting
of Plymouth Harbor by artist Norman Wilkinson. A revolving door
was situated just right of the fireplace, which entered into the
airy port side palm court. The Titanic’s Smoking room
had a different look regarding linoleum tile colours to the Olympic.
When Ken Marshall visited the wreck site in 2000 he discovered that
Titanic’s were colored in a dark red and blue. According
to historians Eric Sauder and Parks Stephenson, the speculation
is that the chairs and settees were changed to a burgundy colour.
Though it is uncertain on what the chairs were colour wise, the
burgundy would not only match the flooring but also would give the
room a distinct character that would differ from her sistership.
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.
These rooms featured large arch windows that stretched from top
to bottom, which overlooked the promenade. This allowed a large
amount of sunlight, to reflect off the mirrors placed on the walls
in the form of fake arched windows. Dark green trellising allowed
ivy to climb up the walls. 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 cafes. The
floor tiles were assembled in a checkered effect and were coloured
orange and white. Sliding doors lead out to the aft promenade 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 were graced the room, each with their
own 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.
The Restaurant Reception
The Reception Room
was located just outside the Restaurant and adjacent to the Aft-Grand
Staircase. The room was done up in a Georgian style and the walls
were paneled in white with modeled details. The floor was laid with
linoleum tiles, which were covered by large elaborate rugs. The
room was fitted with elegant chairs and settees, which were upholstered
in silk. A piano was also situated in one corner for the band to
play the popular waltzes of the time. The most impressive feature
of the room was the sweeping staircase, which was paneled in oak.
The Café Parisien
The Café Parisien
was located just parallel to the reception room and restaurant.
This room was painted white with white trellising for ivy to grow
up the walls and the floor was pine decking. A long carpet stretched
down the middle of the room. This cafe was first introduced on Titanic
and then added later on Olympic. The main highlights of this room
were the large windows that overlooked the sea. These windows could
be opened to let the sea breeze enter the room and it seemed like
a sidewalk cafe. There were two main entrances in this room, one
entryway was through the reception room and the other was situated
further aft in the corridor which lead to the restaurant. The wicker
furniture gave an informal setting like the Veranda and Palm Court
that appealed to the younger passengers. This room certainty gave
the Titanic bit of French style.
The Maids and Valets Saloon
This room was located
on C-deck just beside the aft grand staircase on the starboard side.
Note this is only a prediction of the room since there are no photographs
of this area onboard the Olympic or Titanic. This Saloon was for
the Maids and Valets and was paneled in white with a very simple
design. The room could allow 56 people to dine at the same time.
There were six long tables and chairs that were bolted to the floor.
The floor was laid with linoleum tiles, which may have had a design
like the tiles featured in the second-class dining saloon or the
style in the barbershop.
The Barber Shop
This room was situated
on C-deck just beside the aft grand staircase on the portside. This
room had a similar rule like the smoking room that the barbershop
was reversed for males only. There were two purposes of this room,
one to offer a male a good quality haircut and secondly, to sell
souvenirs and other memorabilia of an Atlantic crossing. The room
could allow two males to have a haircut at the same time. It also
featured reclining chairs and marble washbasins. It also provided
a couch where a passenger could wait until they would get some service.
The floor was covered with linoleum tiles.
The Reception Room
The Reception room
was located on D-deck and was single storey. This room extended
the whole width of the ship (like the dining saloon) and was paneled
in white with modeled ceilings and crystal chandeliers. Arch windows
were lit from behind bathing everything with light that made the
room appear if it was on land instead of being situated deep down
inside a hull of a ship. The furniture was wicker and was arranged
in-groups, which were placed in designated areas. Other unique items
included a black grand piano and some palm trees. The floor was
covered in elaborate Axminster carpet, which was coloured in a dark
red with a blue and gold overlapping pattern. At the aft end of
the room, were two entry doors (on each side of the second funnel
casing) that were decorated in rich oak and inlaid with ornate and
gilded grillwork. The aft wall also featured large arch glassed
windows that looked into the saloon.
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 one storey and was divided
up in alcoves where passengers could dine in privacy. The alcoves
featured large lead glass windows, which could be lit from behind.
This gave the impression that the room was onshore instead of being
at sea. 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. Referring to the archives from
Saloon of the Olympic in her early years, the chairs moved in and
out on a pinion set. This would allow a passenger to sit comfortably
at the table, unlike ocean liners a couple of years before, when
chairs remained bolted to the floor. An interesting feature regarding
the floor was the linoleum tiles. The design was a complex ornate
pattern that gave the room a sense of Edwardian style. Historians
are still discussing what the original colourings of the tiles but
so far the current theory is a light blue overlaid with a dark red
and gold pattern. An upright piano was situated near the front of
the room and used for the band and divine services.
F DECK (Middle Deck)
The Swimming Pool
Located on the starboard side on
F-deck just near the main foyer was the Swimming Pool. This was
one of White Star’s fitness features like the Gymnasium
and Squash Court, which encouraged exercise. The pool was laid with
ceramic tiles that were coloured dark blue and white. There were
two stairways that lead down into the pool with teak handrails to
prevent someone from slipping down the stairs. The bulkheads were
painted white and piping was fixed on the ceiling. Though this gave
the room a stark appearance the idea was common sense, since salt
water in the pool would damage any paneling. Dressing boxes were
situated on the left side of the pool that featured teak doors and
the floor was laid with linoleum tiles, patterned in a sky blue
against white linoleum tiling.
The Turkish Baths
The Turkish Baths was situated just
behind main foyer on F-deck. The room was done up in Arabian style
of the Seventeenth Century and featured bronze lamps intricately
patterned walls. The floor was covered with ornate tiles, coloured
in dark blue. The purpose of this room was for relaxation after
a sauna. The room featured comfortable chairs and lounging sofas.
At one side of the room featured a ornate drinking fountain and
on the starboard side was a elaborate cabinet with a attached mirror.
Four portholes looked into the room allowing a glimpse of natural
light to enter the well-appointed room. The whole room had a mystical
atmosphere that would greet the passengers wishing to have a comfortable
The Squash Court
The Squash Court was situated on
F-deck and was another fitness encouragement for the passengers.
The room was double height and full size. The court could be used
for squash and tennis. Nets were also provided for these services.
A viewing balcony was also situated at E-deck at the aft end of
the room where a passenger could watch the rather heart pumping
activity. Competitions could be held and a coach was also provided
for the beginners.
· 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. Released in 1997 by Twentieth
Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.
· Titanic: An Illustrated History
by Donald Lynch and Ken Marshall. First published in 1992 by Hodder
· Ken Marshall’s Art
of Titanic. Forward by James Cameron and text by Rick Archbold. First
published in 1998 Allen and Unwin.
· Inside the Titanic: A giant
cutaway book. Paintings by Ken Marshall and text by Hugh Brewster.
Published by Allen and Unwin.
· Lost Liners by Robert Ballard
and Rick Archbold, paintings by Ken Marshall. First published in 1997
by Allen and Unwin.
· Titanic & Her Sisters,
Olympic and Britannic by Tom McCluskie, Michael Sharpe and Leo Marriott.
First Published in 1998 by Parkgate Books Ltd.
· James Cameron’s
Titanic. Forward by James Cameron and text by ED W. Marsh. By Twentieth
Century Fox and Paramount pictures. First published by Harper Collins
· Distinguished Liners from
the Shipbuilder 1906-1914. Warren, Mike D. Vol. 1. New York. Blue.
Riband Publications, Inc., 1995.
· Titanic Adventure Out of Time-CD-ROM:
Released in 1996 by Cyberflix and Dream Factory.
· Titanic:Breaking New Ground
- Documentary written and directed by Dough Mc Callie. 1998 Fox Broadcasting
This site was very informative and
has been a very valuable resource. The site is by Parks Stephenson
who had given me a great deal of information. Though this site is
not active at the moment I found it a great resource. Keep up the
good work Parks, your hard work is truly admired.
This site tells us about an era long
gone, when majestic ships ploughed through the Atlantic, there size
and comfort attracting the richest of passengers. It also tells us
about each tragic end of these great ships that now rest at the bottom
of the ocean and the explorations that have occurred.
This site is focused on Titanic first-class
interiors and has a lot of photographs and postcards of the public
This is a great web site by Philip
Hind. His careful researched passenger and crew biographies, archive
recordings; music recordings make this site the best on the web. The
most interesting feature is the Discussion Board, which has not only
increased my own knowledge of the Titanic but let me also contact
some great historians who have given me there own views and knowledge
about the Titanic.
Another great site with also another
message board. Some great photographs of the Olympic and Titanic and
other liners of the past. Great finished model kit sets as well.
Thanks to all the people on Encyclopedia
Titanica and Titanic Research and Modeling Association boards who
supplied me information for this article. These include Eric and Bill
Sauder, Parks Stephenson, David Hudson, Brandon Whited, Rolf Vonk,
Daniel Klistorner, Mark Chirnside, Bruce Beveridge (who supplied me
with some photo references) Dan Cherry, Steve Hall, Michael Pell and
Scott Andrews and I wish good luck to you all in the future. A special
thanks to the The Debris Field General Ocean Forum Site who gave me
some help at the beginning of this year,but it was not related to