Titanic:  Inside the grandest ship of all

Titanic:  Inside the grandest ship of all
Titanic Grand Staircase

If the Titanic’s sheer size did not overwhelm and impress its passengers then a tour of its lavish interior surely would.  The interior of the Titanic was often likened to a floating palace containing some of the finest examples of craftsmanship and interior design ever seen in an ocean liner to this day. During Titanic’s design, entirely new features were added which had never been seen before. A swimming pool, Turkish Baths, squash courts and a gym were provided.

First Class Swimming Baths

The Grand Staircase: This was the Titanic’s crowning glory.  It displayed a level of opulence unseen in any form of travel at the time.  Craftsmanship such as this had never been seen before in any form of common transportation.

Constructed from polished oak, wrought iron and an assortment of boutique glass, the grand staircase was situated below a beautiful dome that gave an excellent illusion of natural light at any hour of the day.  The centerpiece of the grand staircase was a large carved panel containing a clock.

The First class Lounge: This Edwardian inspired lounge is where first class passengers would gather to play cards and discuss the burning issues of the day.

The First Class Gym:   Titanic’s gym was a world first.  First-class passengers had the use of the Titanic’s state-of-the-art gymnasium, which was located on the Boat deck. It included the usual dumbbells, rowing machines, and so on, as well as a mechanical horse and mechanical camel. The cost to use the gymnasium was one shilling (about 25 cents), to be paid to Thomas McCawley, the on-site gymnasium steward, who dressed in white flannels.

The Titanic  boasted exclusive, first-class and men-only Turkish baths. Male first-class passengers who paid the $1 fee could visit the rooms with hot, temperate, and cool temperatures; a steam room; a private toilet; and even a shampooing room. The Turkish baths also offered a freshwater drinking fountain (made of marble) and featured ornate tiles in the Arabic style and comfortable lounge chairs where passengers could rest.

FIRST CLASS TRAVEL ON TITANIC:  The first class public rooms included a dining saloon, reception room, restaurant, lounge, reading and writing room, smoking room, the veranda cafes and palm courts.

If a parlor suite didn’t suffice, a wealthy family could purchase several first-class cabins adjacent to one another and open the interconnecting doors between the cabins to have a suite of their own.

Cafe Parisien

The Cafe Parisien was a very popular eating area on the Titanic as it resembled the boutique cafes of modern Paris.  Also on the Promenade (A) deck, first-class passengers could avail themselves of the Verandah Café and Palm Courts. The large windows, wicker furniture, trelliswork, potted plants, and checkered floors in these rooms suggested being in the English countryside. First-class children favoured the Verandah Café and often went there to play together.

First-class passengers also had the Lounge, a luxurious room on the Promenade (A) deck meant for socializing. This rich, oak-panelled room had alcoves where passengers could talk to one another with a degree of privacy. Lounge decorations were modelled after the Palace of Versailles. Coffee, tea, and liquor were served in the Lounge.

The Reading and Writing Room:  This room was really designed for use by traveling first class women. It was painted in white and furnished very elegantly. There was a huge bow window that enabled the occupiers to lookout on to the Promenade Deck. There was a large fire which burned intensely adding warmth to the room.

First Class Lounge:  The Lounge was situated on the Promenade Deck and again elaborately fitted out. This room was dedicated to reading, conversation, playing cards and other social interactions of the day.

1st Class Smoking room

First Class Smoking Room:  Towards the back of the Promenade Deck was situated this very fine room. The walls of the first class Smoking Room were panelled in mahogany carved in the Georgian style and were inlaid with mother of pearl.  Those who required an after dinner drink could find exactly what they wanted in the well-stocked bar.  Others enjoyed walking around the room looking at the painted glass windows depicting many different ports from around the world, and other White Star Line ships.

On the portside of the room was a small Verandah area, which led to the Palm Court areas (30ft by 25ft) overlooking the aft Promenade Deck.  Walled trellises with climbing plants gave the impression that the room was part of a conservatory. Passengers could sit on wicker chairs to finish their drinks.

First Class Reception Area:  Behind the Grand Staircase was a spacious Reception Room 54 foot long. It was decorated in the Jacobean style and had a white ceiling and a dark rusty colour carpet.  Before dinner, saloon passengers could gather to discuss the day’s activities aboard the ship. Some would sit on one of the many floral patterned Grandfather Chairs to be found there.  The Reception Room led directly to the Dining Room.

First Class Dining Room:  The first class passengers would certainly dine in style. Their dining room was 114 foot long and spanned the full width of the ship. Seating 532 passengers at once, it was the largest dining room ever seen on a ship. The room was decorated in attractive Jacobean style, and was painted in peanut white.

The decoration had been the result of painstaking research. The furniture (chairs and tables) were oak and designed to add luxury and comfort at all times. In those days dinner was considered a very important part of a voyage.  This restaurant served the finest meals all of which were not included in the fares of its guests. It added an extra touch of class.

1st Class Bedroom

The room had floor to ceiling panelling in French light brown walnut. Specially mounted ornaments and mouldings gave a regal effect. Candle-style lamps hung in the centre of the panels. Plain silk curtains covered the large bay windows that gave a great feeling of spaciousness.  Passengers could sit around the tables in groups of two to eight people. An orchestra played to them from a raised platform. Dining would have been quite an experience.

First Class Accommodation Titanic provided 39 private suites: 30 on the Bridge Deck and 9 on the Shelter Deck. The suites included bedrooms with private toilet facilities. All had up to five different rooms: 2 bedrooms, 2 wardrobe rooms and a bathroom.  First class accommodation also held 350 cheaper standard cabins with single beds. The expensive and exclusive staterooms boasted excellent fittings.                                                                  (to be continued)

To learn more about this ship visit our museum on Saturday, 3rd August at 2:00 pm. to hear Michael Booth, a descendant of a Titanic Passenger, speaking about the RMS Titanic.  Note the date in your diary now.  See poster under “Guest Speaker” on the right.

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