106 years after RMS Titanic sank into the watery depths of the Atlantic, a rare brochure has surfaced at auction revealing how first-class passengers were enticed on board for the maiden voyage. The unique Titanic brochure gives a glimpse into the fantastic interiors and world-class furnishings within the ship.
The Titanic Brochure
Showing the grandeur and opulence of the White Star Line ship, the Titanic brochure would have given passengers an insight into how their living quarters would be decorated through delicately painted colour images and short descriptive paragraphs of text which extol the decadence and beauty of RMS Titanic.
Set to go to auction on 20 October 2018 at Henry Aldridge and Son Auctioneers of Devizes, this incredible piece of history has been tipped to sell for a breathtaking £10,0000. Although hundreds of copies of this brochure would have been printed in the months leading up to the ill-fated trip, the surviving copy is now a rare artefact.
But, thanks to the generosity of Henry Aldridge and Son Auctioneers, we’ve been given a look inside the brochure and can show you what life would have been like on board the world’s most famous cruise ship.
From a unique artist’s impression of the ship’s staircase (made famous by James Cameron’s movie) to the opulent furnishings of the first-class rooms, read on to discover how Titanic passengers were sold the trip of a lifetime…
The Reception Room
“The apotheosis, surely, of ocean-going luxury and comfort”
The Reception Room is described in the Titanic brochure as having two main characteristics: “dignity and simplicity”. The vast room is portrayed with white paneling “in the Jacobean style” and bronze ceiling lights which, according to the authors of the leaflet, will “reflect their hundred lights upon the glittering jewels of women in brilliant evening frocks”.
Would-be passengers are told they might want to “gaze” at a magnificent Aubusson tapestry which faces the stairs or frequent one of the “capacious Chesterfields or grandfather chairs” which are “upholstered in a floral pattern of wool damask”.
The Reading and Writing Room
Don’t be fooled by the name of this room – the Titanic brochure writers are quick to point out that it is “essentially a ladies’ room”, with it’s “pure white walls” and “light and elegant furniture”.
Harbouring an atmosphere of “refined retirement”, passengers are asked to imagine their feet moving “noiselessly over the thick, velvety carpet” in a “sanctuary so very peaceful that here it would seem as if any conversation above a whisper would be a sacrilege”!
The Turkish Baths
“one of the most interesting and striking rooms on the ship”
Perhaps the most surprising revelation from the Titanic brochure are the images of what the Turkish Bath Cooling Room might have looked like. Described as “one of the most interesting and striking rooms on the ship”, the cooling room includes ornately decorated tiles, “elaborately-carved Cairo” curtains over the port-holes, a gilded ceiling, warm-coloured teak wood finishes and bronze “Arab lamps” which are carved all over in an “intricate Moorish pattern”.
Passengers are told that users of the room might wish to enjoy one of the low couches found between Damascus tables, upon which they might like to “place one’s coffee, cigarettes or books”.
The Swimming Bath
Unlike the detailed descriptions of some of the on-board rooms, surprisingly little literature is given about the swimming bath on board.
Accompanying the picture of the white, minimalist swimming pool is the single sentence “This is situated close to the Turkish baths, and is a novelty that will be appreciated by passengers”. Interestingly, it appears (at least in the images) that both the swimming bath and the Turkish baths were for male passengers only.
The Dining Saloon
“The furniture of oak is designed to harmonize with its surroundings, and at the same time to avoid the austere disregard for comfort in which our forefathers evidently found no hindrance to the enjoyment of the meal”.
The images of the dining saloon for first-class passengers in the brochure depicts an extravagant and vast room. Apparently designed in line with the style of “eminent architects of early Jacobean times”, the Titanic brochure also reveals the inspiration behind the saloon, which included “the splendid decorations at Hatfield, Haddon Hall” amongst other contemporary great houses.
Up to 532 passengers would have been able to dine in the room at one time but, if they were concerned for privacy, the brochure quells fears by suggesting that “the semi-privacy of small parties have been carefully provided for” with the availability of “recessed bays” in which small groups could dine in “practically alone”.
Meals served in the saloon and the restaurant were often 8 courses long and included delectable dishes such as oysters, roast squab and cress, fillet mignons lili with saute of chicken lyonnaise and vegetable marrow farcis and salmon with mousseline and cucumbers.
The Smoke Room
“Here, seated around the home-like fire… smoke and drink as wisely and well as we feel inclined.”
With its dark-paneled walls and comfy-looking emerald-coloured armchairs, the Smoke Room certainly looks like it would have been a relaxing place to retire to during evenings on the Titanic. The “finest mahogany” walls were inlaid with “mother-o’-pearl”, alongside a painting by Mr. Norman Wilkinson called “Approach to the New World”.
Passengers were invited to “smoke and drink as wisely and well as [they] felt inclined” while enjoying “the personifications of the Arts”.
“Every small detail, down to the fastenings and hinges, has been carried out with regard to purity of style”.
Designed to look like a venue from Louis XVI’s France, the Titanic brochure describes the first-class restaurant as having “beautifully marked French walnut” paneling with “large bay windows” that are a “distinctive and novel feature”.
Passengers can look forward to silk curtains with flowered borders and richly embroidered pelmuts and delicately modelled flowers in bas relief on the ceiling, as well as a rich pile carpet made in Axminister which formed “an admirable background” to the room.
The restaurant was equipped also with electric light brackets.
The brochure writers add that “Every small detail, down to the fastenings and hinges, has been carried out with regard to purity of style”.
“The staircase is one of the principal features of the ship, and will be greatly admired as being, without doubt, the finest piece of workmanship of its kind afloat”.
Not fearful of blowing their company’s trumpet, the Titanic brochure writers lavish on praise for the interiors of RMS Titanic while describing what must have been a breath-taking part of the ship.
The main staircase is described to be “reminiscent of the days when Grinling Gibbon collaborated with his great contemporary, Wren”, more like “some great house on shore” than the interior of a cruise liner.
The staircase, made famous by Cameron’s imaging of it in his iconic film, is described as being “gracefully curving” with a “great dome of icon and glass” that “throws a flood of light down the stairway”.
Experience first-class passenger stays at 30 James Street
Here at 30 James Street, we’re no stranger to what life would have been like on board RMS Titanic. Located within the building that was the original headquarters of the White Star Line, 30 James Street is a luxury hotel which commemorates the history of the Titanic.
Inside our grade-II* listed waterfront building, stay in a suite inspired by the stories and people connected to the Titanic, with luxurious furnishings and amenities fit for a first-class passenger.
Dine in style at our rooftop Carpathia Bar and Restaurant, named after the rescue ship which saved hundreds of lives after the sinking of the Titanic, and enjoy exclusive memorabilia around the hotel which tells the story of what happened on that dreadful night.
For more information, or to book now, call our team on 0151 236 0166 or visit our booking page today.