The First Class Lounge

The First Class Lounge was the principle public room for First Class Passengers and was the most vibrant socially at all times of the day. It was located amidships on 'A' Deck, equidistant between the forward and aft grandstaircases.  It was decorated in the Louis XV style and housed a book case which served as a library for first class passengers. On the night of 14 April 1912, the equivalent room on the Titanic was where the band played before moving up to the Boat Deck.

The Olympic's First Class Lounge was described by the Shipbuilder as:

"...a noble apartment in the Louis Quinze style, the details being taken from the Palace at Versailles. Here passengers will indulge in reading, conversation, cards, tea-drinking, and other social intercourse... The walls are covered with finely carved boiseries in which, without interfering with the symetery of the whole, the fancy of the carver has shown itself in ever-varying detail. At one end is a large fire-place, and at the other a bookcase from which books can be borrowed"

The First Class Lounge is the most intact room from the Olympic that survives today. Fortunately, the two buildings that now house the remnants of this beatiful room are both open to the public and are listed by English Heritage.

The Ceiling Light Fittings

 The spectacular electrolier was one of the Olympic's most recognisable and idiosyncratic fittings. It was likely one of only two custom built either by Perry & Co. or N. Burt & Co for the Olympic and the Titanic, meaning it is now a wholly unique item. It was described in the catalogue: "The massive ornamental ormolu oval electrolier, with cut and engraved glass panels and cut-glass bead dressings, having border of sixteen lights, with engraved glass shades and bead festoons".

In the auctioneer's notes from the 1935 auction, the lot for the electrolier is marked "Buy for the Cutler's People", a reference to the Cutler's Hall in Sheffield, where this remarkable item is still to be seen today in the setting of the panelling from the Second Class Library.


On my first visit to the Cutler's Hall in 2000, the sight of seeing the electrolier for myself without having seen any photographs of it since it was aboard the Olympic simply took my breath away! Below are three of the photos I took on that occasion.


The electrolier was not the only light fixiture from the First Class Lounge that was purchased in 1935 to be installed at the Cutler's Hall, four of the smaller chandeliers that illuminated the alcoves are also still to be seen there today. They are in the same style as the main electrolier that dominated the room.


The archive at the Cutler's Hall reveals that one of the four smaller electroliers was damaged in transit from Jarrow and parts were missing from others. All are now intact after copies of parts were made for the purpose of repairs.

The collection of the light fittings from the Olympic's First Class Lounge at the Cutler's Hall is truly amazing and bears testiment to what a beautiful ship the Olympic was.

The Panelling

The Olympic Suite at the White Swan Hotel

Thanks to the innovative thinking of a Northumberland hotel owner in the 1930s, Algernon Smart, a large section of the Lounge's panelling, windows and wall lights can still be seen at the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick. The 1935 dispersal auction catalogue described th Lounge thus: 

An extension was built onto the back of the hotel by Smart to house a substantial section of panelling and windows and was opened in about 1938.

Inside, the Lounge's original features are remarkably preserved making the White Swan Hotel one of the most visited Titanic connected sites in the UK.



Email Stuart