The First Class Staterooms on Olympic's 'B'
and 'C' Decks were the focus of much of the public
wonderment at her lavish interiors. In June 1911, just
before her maiden voyage, the Shipbuilder devoted a
whole section of its special number to the 'special'
staterooms and the indulgent accomodation available to
anyone wealthy and lucky enough to enjoy a First Class
The Stateroom that has the most known surviving
artefacts today is the Italian Renaissance Room on
Shelter Deck 'C'. It was one of the period staterooms
illustrated for the Shipbuilder. It was renumbered
C-82 from C-76 in the Olympic's post Titanic refit of
In 1924, the Prince of Wales
and future King Edward VIII sailed
home on the Olympic after a two month tour of America.
According to Mark Chirnside's seminal
work, the Prince was
first shown on boarding in New York a Regency Style Cabin to
which he remarked "that's too pretty" and was shown C-82.
Charmed by the cabin's satinwood interior with its elegant but
unpompous feel, the Prince occupied this cabin and its Empire
style neighbour all the way to Southampton.
When the Olympic met her end
in 1935, there was press interest in the sale of the contents
of the stateroom at Jarrow that November. The Times of London
reported that the furniture from the cabins used by the Prince
of Wales eleven years earlier had been sold for £48. The
purchase of lot 1386 by Colonel Harry Hutton of the Marquis of
Granby Hotel in Bamford, Derbyshire is the reason why all the
items of C-82 bar the washstand are known to still exist.
N.B. 'C' Deck was re-lettered
'B' Deck in one of Olympic's later refits. 'A' Deck became the
Prom Deck, 'B' Deck became 'A' Deck, 'C' Deck became 'B' Deck and so on.
The Dressing Table
The Dressing Table was
utilised in one of the bedrooms at the Marquis of Granby Hotel
for sixty-two years, from 1936 to 1998 when the then owner of
the hotel decided to sell it and all the other purchases
Colonel Hutton had made in the wake of the success of James
Cameron's film. The Dressing Table was sold for £3000 to
private collector and good friend of mine, Peter Mitchell, who
regularly puts it on display at Titanic exhibitions. He fully
restored it, replacing the missing drawer handles and
repairing the many scratches it had suffered from its time at
the hotel. The photos below depict before and after the sale
On the back of the
Dressing Table are some markings denoting its origins in
Belfast and Jarrow.
In heavy crayon is the original lot number from the 1935
dispersal auction in Jarrow: 1386.
Behind the lot number is markings applied during the fitting
out process in Belfast in 1911. The writing reads: "BEDROOM H,
SS 400, SHELTER DECK"; 400 being Olympic's yard number
(Titanic's was 401) and Shelter Deck being 'C' Deck.
The Dressing Table has a
number of features showing it comes from a ship.
To prevent things falling off in rough seas the table top has
a raised metal surround and the drawers have ball bearings to
hold them shut Note the intricate carving and inlaid patterns
in the wood, designed to emulate the artistry of the
Another item of furniture
that graced the bedroom of the Marquis of Granby was the
wardrobe from C-82. It too was utilised by guests at the hotel
for over six decades before being sold to Peter Mitchell in
1998, this time for £900. Like the dressing table, it is
made of satinwood and was fully restored by its new owner.
The wardrobe is seen in
the above photo along with the panelling from C-82.
You can see how the bottom of the wardrobe has been angled to
match the sheet of Olympic's deck. It is also extensively
marked as being from Cabin C-82. The inside panels of the
doors would have originally held mirrors.
The Wardrobe is unique
among surviving artefacts I've seen from the Olympic in having
the original electric socket and switches from the stateroom.
The top switch would have operated the fixed lighting in the
cabin, the lower switch would have operated the electical
socket below to which a bedside light would have been plugged.
The Chest of Drawers
The Chest of
Drawers that also formed part of lot 1386 did not find
its way to the Marquis of Granby Hotel.
It turned up in 2010 at the house clearing of a former
director of Thomas Ward and was purchased by Jonathan
Qualye of the
Purser's Locker and later sold to a private
collector in Sweden.
The 1935 dispersal auction was structured so that
furniture was sold over the first eight days and the
panelling and equipment at days nine and ten. The
panelling to C-82 was offered for sale as lot 3746 but
did not sell. It appears Colonel Hutton obtained the
panelling by private arrangment after the auction. He
installed the panelling in the same bedroom with the
result that his hotel offered the closest experience
possible to spending a night in a cabin of the Olympic
or the Titanic.
panelling was sold in the same sale as the wardrobe and
dressing table, which ended the possibility of the
experience. The panelling was replaced with wall paper. My
friend the late Steve Rigby kindly supplied the
photographs below taken during his stay in 1997.
The removal of the panelling revealed the markings applied in
Belfast a century ago.
The room was referred to as the 'Birch Room' in the Harland
& Wolff woodworking shop. Thanks to Sotheby's for the
The panelling was sold at the 1998 sale to an unknown
buyer. Small sections of it have since been broken off
from it and sold to collectors.
The Marquis of Granby Hotel also housed artefacts from
staterooms C-62 (Louise XIV Room), C-86 (Georgian
Room) and C-80 (Empire Room). After the sale of all
these historic artefacts between 1998 and 2000, the
hotel eventually closed in October 2001. I cannot help
but feel that if its then owner had instead chosen to market her
hotel on the strength of its connection to the Olympic
and Titanic, it would still be here today: possibly
with a waiting list of prospective guests wanting to
experience the exuberant comforts of our sea-going
The Marquis of Granby Hotel in