30 James Street belongs to the people of Liverpool. It was only apt to create a hotel that not only celebrated the history of the White Star Line, but commemorated RMS Titanic and her passengers and crew. The building’s story is very much at the heart of the hotel, as we endeavour to pay our respects to the past so Liverpool’s history can be celebrated in the future.
We therefore thought we would take a little look back at the history of the hotel, whilst sharing fantastic images of this remarkable building. 30 James Street, also known as Albion House or the White Star Building, is a testament to the beauty of late 1800s architecture and a symbol of the city’s extensive maritime history.
30 James Street, 1897
Albion House was created as a headquarters for the Ismay, Imrie and Company shipping company, which later became known as the White Star Line. The White Star Line chairman’s office, J. Bruce Ismay, was situated within the HQ, who was later criticised for leaving the sinking vessel on a lifeboat, instead of remaining onboard the ship with his passengers and crew.
The White Star Line HQ, which was designed by architects Richard Norman Shaw and J. Francis Doyle, was RMS Titanic‘s port of registry, which is the reason why she bear the “Liverpool” lettering on her stern. RMS Titanic‘s Captain Edward J. Smith and the crew also received their orders from the headquarters, as did other White Star Line vessels, such as RMS Olympic and RMS Adriatic.
A White Star Line HQ office
It is no secret the White Star Line suffered significant financial problems over the years. The collision between RMS Olympic and HMS Hawke resulted in significant monetary problems for the shipping company, as did the sinking of RMS Titanic. The White Star Line’s Britannic also never set sail for the company, as she was requisitioned by the British government as a hospital ship during World War I, and sank on 21st November 1916 after hitting a mine.
Despite receiving two German war liners as war repatriations in 1922, the White Star Line was later purchased by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and, as a result, became the largest shipping group in the world. However, after running into further financial troubles, the company was liquidated in 1932. Royal Mail Lines Limited therefore took over the White Star and RMSPC lines, but was forced to merge with the Cunard Line during the Great Depression in 1933, changing the name to the Cunard-White Star Line.
Damage to Albion House’s gable following the Liverpool Blitz 1941
Liverpool was a major international port during the Second World War, and so was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe. The Liverpool Blitz was one of the biggest attacks on the city, causing significant damage to many buildings. Unlike the surrounding buildings, 30 James Street remained standing, with only damage to the gable, which is thanks to Richard Norman’s Shaw’s cast iron construction. The building, however, was not rebuilt until the late 1940s.
In 1947, Cunard acquired the 38% of the Cunard White Star shares they did not own, and reverted back to the “Cunard” name. However, all Cunard ships flew the White Star Line flag until 1968. The White Star Line flag is also raised on all Cunard ships and the last White Star ship, Nomadic, every 15th April in memory of RMS Titanic’s sinking.
30 James Street from the Canning Dock, 1959.
On 28th June 1963, 30 James Street finally became a listed building, and was upgraded to a Grade II* listed building on 19th June 1985. The fine mosaic of the South America is also listed, and is located at the entrance of the building. Outside 30 James Street, you will also find a wooden war memorial listing the members of staff who “Gave their lives for their country” during the First World War.
30 James Street – Home of the Titanic
After being used as office space, the building was left derelict for many years, with the stunning interior closed off to the public. However, in March 2014, 30 James Street opened its doors once again as a Titanic themed hotel in Liverpool. The hotel’s owners, Lawrence and Katie Kenwright, had always loved the building and were passionate about restoring it to its former glory.
The Presidential Suite
Each room within the hotel has an individual connection to the White Star Line and RMS Titanic, and offer all the glamour and elegance found aboard the ill-fated ship. Featuring stunning interior, luxurious furnishings and modern facilities, guests will feel like a first-class passenger when staying in a cabin, quarter, double or suite.
Carpathia Champagne Bar & Restaurant
In honour of RMS Carpathia, the rescue ship that saved the 705 RMS Titanic survivors, 30 James Street features the rooftop Carpathia Champagne Bar & Restaurant, which overlooks Liverpool’s iconic waterfront. Guests can enjoy magnificent views of the World Heritage Site from the twin 100ft balconies as they enjoy delicious food and drinks.
In addition, 30 James Street also offers provides a variety of spa treatments at Morgan’s Spa. Due to the beauty and history of 30 James Street, we can provide a fantastic wedding venue in Liverpool, allowing our guests to make their own history in this magnificent building.