The À La Carte Restaurant
The Restaurant was located at the aft end of 'B' Deck and provided an alternative to the Dining Saloon for First Class passengers. First Class passengers had the option of taking a rebate on their ticket for not eating in the Dining Saloon and instead paying separately for their meals in the Restaurant. The Restaurant proved so popular that it was extended to take up the space on the port side promenade on the Titanic; Olympic's was expanded to follow Titanic's configuration in 1913 and Britannic's Restaurant extended the entire width of the deck when she was launched in 1914. It is said Charlie Chaplin regarded the Olympic's Restaurant as his favourite place to eat on land or sea.
It is now possible to have a Titanic themed dinner at a house in Sheffield England with panels from the restaurant. Please visit
www.lastdinneronthetitanic.com for more details.
The Shipbuilder's Passenger Accomodation chapter contained the following passage: "the restaurant... will be considered by many compentent judges as the most enticing apartment in the vessel... The style adopted is that of the Louis XVI period. The is panelled from floor to ceiling in beautifully marked French walnut of a delicate light fawn brown colour, the mouldings and ornaments being richly carved and gilded."
The despersal auction catalogue from 1935 described the beauty of this room more emphatically:
"THE MAGNIFICENT FRENCH WALNUT AND CARVED GILT PANELLING, with leaf and ribbon ornamentation, carved, reeded and ribbon pillar casings with gilt capitals and reeded, panelled and gilt casings to cross members, the panelling includes the transverse partitions with oval openings two of which are glazed, and the walls have numerous arched-top nine-mirror panels..."
Today, the panels from the A La Carte Restaurant exist at two sites. One is aboard Celebrity Cruises Ship, Millenium having previously been installed at the former home of Mae Bamber, the Mayoress of Southport in the 1930s. The other site is...
The Panels Discovered in 2012
In May 2012, a gentleman approached me after reading the previous version of this page which stated "It was estimated that only a portion of the original room was installed in the [Mayoress's] house in 1936 and the remaining panels are unaccounted for."
He revealed that the remaining panels are installed in his house and he kindly invited me to visit him and take photographs of this final piece of a jigsaw that has remained incomplete since 1990 when the Mayoress of Southport's house was first discovered. It was such an exciting experience to visit a house which must be one of last remaining places in Britain that has fittings from the Olympic that were installed when she was broken up in the 1930s!
In October 2012, the owners of the house held a lavish dinner based on the last meal on the Titanic.
I wrote an account of the experience for Encyclopedia Titanica. Please visit www.lastdinneronthetitanic.com for information and booking a similar dinner in the future.
There are about 24 sections of the panelling from the Olympic's Restaurant in the house with four mirrored windows. They are in excellent condition and the sense of history was palpable as I thought of figures like Molly Brown, Captain Smith and even Charlie Chaplin dining surrounded by the same panels!
Charlie Cha The above photo shows a close up of the beautiful gold leaf carving and the back of one of the panels which is stencilled "SS OLYMPIC RESTAURANT PORT GIRDER" which indicated it is from the 1912/13 extension of the Restaurant out to the port side.
The hall of the house also contains panelling that appears to come from the Olympic's corridors and staircases. Please email or phone me on +44 (0)7882 527782 if you are interested.
A Tour of the Mayoress of Southport's House in 1997
Photos kindly supplied by the late Steve Rigby (1959-2011) of the British Titanic Society
The panelling covered the house's entrance hall, living room and dining room. In 1997, the house was owned by an elderly Couple, Mr and Mrs Norton, who were very generous in allowing Titanic enthusiasts to visit their home to view and photograph the panels.
The Buffet Bar
The front end of the Buffet Bar served as a sideboard in the Dining Room.
The Walls and
The double doors in
the top row of photos lead from the Reception room on the 'B'
Deck landing of the Aft Grand Staircase, note the difference in
style of the arches on each side. The 'bootlace' ribbons seen in
the middle of each panel were added on after they were installed
in the house.
The Windows in the
bottom right photo covered the portholes on the port side and
date from when the Restaurant was modified in 1913 to match the
size and shape of the one on Titanic. The pattern of the
beautiful stained glass is reminiscent of the style of Charles
Rennie Macintosh, the famous Scottish architect. The pattern is
similar to windows
seen in a hotel, now demolished, that contained a large
quantity of Olympic fittings.
The pillars with the
distinctive criss-cross ribbon pattern were once free standing.
The greater ceiling height in the house meant they could only be lined up against the wall.
The fine woodwork is typical of the Olympic. The door handles on the left are identical to a pair on a set of doors that lead off the Grand Staircase.
The entrance hall
looking towards the front door.
The light in the ceiling is from the First Class Dining Saloon.
Hope you enjoyed
The Panelling Today Aboard
the Celebrity Millenium
2011, Queen Mary preservationist Sean
Hankins sailed aboard the Celebrity Millenium and kindly
supplied the following pictures of the panels from the
Mayoress of Southport's house as they are today.
Henry Aldridge and Son auctioned eight chairs from the
The provenance of them was unknown beyond that they had previously been in the Liverpool area.