By now, we all know the fate of The Titanic. The 1912 disaster took the lives of more than 1500 people when she sank, despite being described as unsinkable. The gigantic passenger ship was the most luxurious of its time, oozing class and opulence at every turn and with the finest interiors and lavish decor.
Alas, all the decadence didn’t matter in the end, all the money in the world couldn’t stop the events of April 14th. When RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank to the ocean floor, so too did the possessions and fittings on board.
It’s hard to imagine what life was like on the most famous ship in the world. Thankfully, the images of the ship and the people aboard are frozen in time in uncovered photographs and recovered artefacts. Take a look at some of the most famous photographs and some hidden gems from a historic but tragic marvel.
Building The Titanic
Hundreds of workers leave Belfast ship building yard at the end of a hard day building the most extravagant ship in the world.
Sometimes, it’s hard to comprehend just how big The Titanic was. With a length of nearly 270m, a maximum breath of 28m and a height of 32m the Titanic weighed in at just shy of 47,000 tons and was incomprehensible in size at the time. Looking at the size of the propellors helps to put that into perspective.
Onboard the Ship
The third class dining room was simple but elegant. Even the cheapest ticket on The Titanic would get you a classy and beautiful dining experience, with simple but plentiful food.
The second class dining room was a bit of a step up from third, with more personal seating arrangements and more plush furnishing and fittings. Second class passengers were able to access the dining room all day, with meals being served three times a day.
Cafe Parissiene was an outside terrace that offered diners views across the Atlantic as they dined on cakes and pastries and drank tea from table service. The cafe was designed to emulate the elegance and class of a cafe in Paris and was popular amongst the passengers.
This image shows the smoking room in which the men would gather to smoke cigars after their evening meal. This smoking room was, however, only open to those male passengers who had bought a first-class ticket.
This first class parlour suite was one of the most expensive rooms available. Titanic’s first-class accommodation was capable of housing up to 735 passengers.
Gymnasium onboard the Titanic, available for use for some of the most prestigious guests of the First and Second classes. Gym included a punching bag, a rowing machine, and exercise bikes.
The gym included several exercise bikes, the journey was only going to take seven days, but the designers saw adequate exercise facilities as a necessity on board the ship.
There was even a swimming pool on board the ship, located near the gymnasium and only available to first class passengers, the swimming pool offered a softer exercise than the intense gym and was popular amongst the ladies of the ship.
The Grand staircase, as depicted in the movie. The staircase is a remarkable piece of architecture and the movie did a great job in replicating how the real staircase looked.
The promenade deck of the Titanic, it is quite possible that many passengers were walking along this deck admiring the view across the North Atlantic when the ship hit the iceberg. The promenade has become an iconic image of The Titanic, being heavily featured in the hit film.
The second class promenade was still impressive, but it’s clear to see the contrast between the first-class and the second-class facilities; the second class promenade was less sheltered from the wind and with more basic seating options.
The steering room where Captain Smith famously went down with his ship. The steering of Titanic’s era is a far cry from the high tech and computer based navigation we use today. If they had the advanced sonar in use today, it’s likely the ship would never have sunk.
Titanic luncheon menu, signed by the survivors of the ship. The menu was extremely extravagant and included; Norwegian Anchovies, Corned Ox Tongue, and Galantine of Chicken. First-class passengers aboard the Titanic could expect a 10-course meal for their dinner, which would still be considered extremely extravagant even in this day and age.
Boarding the Ship
the titanic next to her sister ship The Olympic prior to the Titanic’s maiden voyage to New York City, RMS Olympic was the lead ship of the White Star Line’s trio of Olympic-class liners, the last being HMHS Britannic.
A recovered ticket, everyone was given a similar ticket to board the ship at their respective port and bore the logos of White Star Line, who were headquartered at 30 James Street.
the Captain and J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, completing their final checks on The Titanic before allowing people to board.
People flock to board the ship as the doors are opened and the first passengers step foot on the ill-fated liner.
Prior to the Titanic embarking on her maiden voyage, all passengers were checked by a doctor to make sure they were fit for travel. Here, the doctor checks the eyes of the passengers about to board the ship.
There was even live music as passengers boarded, it is said the dock had a carnival atmosphere on the day of departure, with a mixture of performers and excitement.
Onlookers at Southampton watch The Titanic as she leaves Britain for the final time on her maiden voyage.
Captain Edward John Smith cuts a recognisable figure, with his easily identifiable facial hair and aged good looks. The captain heralded to the timeless notion that a captain must always go down with his ship and he joined the 1500 passengers who never made it out of the freezing water of the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the most famous photographs onboard the Titanic, this image shows a young boy playing on the deck of the ship, just hours before the disaster happened.
John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest person on board the Titanic when she set off on her maiden voyage. It is said that when the ship hit the iceberg, Astor remained unperturbed, even going as far as to say “We are safer in here than in that little boat”. Eventually, he boarded his pregnant wife into Lifeboat 4 but was unable to take a place himself due to the ‘women and children first’ orders. He went down with the ship and his body was one of only 333 recovered.
Life After the Disaster
While it can never be known for sure, people have said that this photograph is of the exact iceberg that struck The Titanic and made her sink.
Survivors row towards RMS Carpathia, the first ship to respond to the initial distress call and the first one to arrive at the wreckage.
The last lifeboat to be rescued. While searches were carried out for the next few days, no more survivors were found.
A Lifeboat hoisted aboard RMS Carpathia, being drained of excess sea water, showing the poor quality of the lifeboats. However, this was not even the greatest issue with the sinking of the ship. The Titanic did not contain enough lifeboats to carry all passengers in the emergency of being hit by an iceberg; not even by half.
As word reaches dry land, a paperboy on the streets of London spreads the terrible news.
People in Southampton gather around a White Star Line office to anxiously read the list of survivors, searching for friends and family members who bought a ticket on the doomed ship.
When survivors arrived in New York with RMS Carpathia, the paparazzi and media attention surrounding them was intense and they were mobbed for comments and photographs the minute they appeared in public.
The Titanic shipwreck wasn’t found until 1985 after its exact location couldn’t be determined. When it was found, 73 years after she sank, the structure of the bow of the ship was nearly perfectly preserved, but the stern of the ship was ruined. some of the interiors remain recognisable and hundred of thousands of items that spilled from the ship were found for miles around the resting place of the RMS Titanic.
The wreckage is now protected by a UNESCO convention and while most of us will never set foot upon The Titanic, it’s fascinating to see what life was like on the most famous ship of all time.
As the former home of White Star Line’s headquarters and with strong connections to The Titanic, 30 James Street has kept the DNA of the era of the famous ship. With opulent and extravagant fixtures and fittings that rival the great liner herself.
Why not book a stay at our presidential suite and experience life as a first class passenger, or enjoy a meal at Carpathia, our rooftop bar and restaurant that pays homage to the ship that saved hundreds.