Very few buildings are synonymous with the White Star Line, and 30 James Street is proud to be one of few properties connected to the world famous shipping company.
30 James Street – Home of the Titanic was formerly the White Star Line HQ, and its history is celebrated within our Titanic themed hotel. There is, however, another building that offers a unique connection to the prominent shipping company: The White Swan.
Located over 200 miles from 30 James Street, The White Star Swan Hotel in Alnwick is a Grade II listed building that features the original Olympic Suite. The magnificent room is furnished with interior decor from the renowned White Star Line ship RMS Olympic – which was RMS Titanic‘s sister ship and was a replica of the ill-fated liner.
Algenon Smart, the then-owner of the 18th century coaching inn, was a frequent traveller aboard RMS Olympic, and participated in an auction of the ship’s fittings in November 1935, and so won the bid for elements from the Aft First Class Staircase, the First Class Lounge and the revolving door from the ship’s restaurant.
RMS Olympic was dismantled in 1936, and the ceiling, panelling, mirrors and stained glass window were incorporated into the White Swan Hotel. RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic were sister ships, and were therefore identical. RMS Olympic was the elder of the sisters, embarking on her maiden voyage on 14th June 1911. On 10th April 1912, RMS Titanic set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton, but failed to reach her destination of New York after colliding with an iceberg 375 nautical miles south of Newfoundland, Canada.
The sinking of RMS Titanic, which took the lives of over 1,500 people, is regarded as one of the biggest maritime disasters of all time – and RMS Olympic served as a reminder of the beauty and tragedy of the White Star ship. RMS Olympic, however, enjoyed an illustrious career as a transatlantic ocean liner, and served the shipping company for an incredible 24 years.
Most of the interior aboard both ships, including the First Class Lounge, were designed by the same artisans or craftsmen. The man behind the design was architect Arthur Henry Durand, who is renowned for co-designing the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
Upon entering the White Swan Hotel, you may pass an RMS Olympic artefact and won’t even know it. The entrance to the hotel features the celebrated liner’s revolving doors, which was originally featured on RMS Olympic‘s First Class restaurant and helped keep sea breezes away from the dining room. Changes to RMS Titanic‘s design meant revolving doors were not necessary, separating the ill-fated vessel from her elder sister.
The hotel also features the Aft First Class Staircase, which was not as elaborate as the famous Grand Staircase, but is a beautiful fitting that’s parallel to White Star Line’s elegant design. Other features from the liner include the spectacular marble fireplace and the ceiling decoration in the Olympic Suite.
The White Swan Hotel, just like 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic, is a testament to a the history of the White Star Line, and the restorations ensure people across the world never forget the shipping company’s stories and style.