The Nooks and Crannies of First-class onboard the R.M.S Titanic

By Nigel Bryant


I thought I would take the opportunity to summarize the main public rooms in the first-class section of the R.M.S Titanic. This information is mainly based on Olympic’s interiors because of the lack of photographs taken of Titanic herself. This summary is not only to help me on my own research but to help others as well who marvel at the luxurious furnishings that really make this ship a floating palace.

BOAT DECK (Top Deck)

The Gymnasium
Since most first-class public rooms did not encourage physical fitness and exhaustion, the Gymnasium was a unique treat. The Gymnasium was situated on the boat-deck, behind the entrance to the Grand Staircase. It was a long narrow room and the walls were painted white, the lower half was paneled in dark wood. The gym featured a lot of fitness machines including a weight machine, punching bag, bicycles, electrical camels and a rowing machine. A bench was located in the middle of the room where one could watch the activity going on and behind that was a large information board, which showed a world map of the company shipping routes. Also located on this board was advertising matter of a cutaway profile of the Olympic-class steamers. The floor was laid with linoleum tiles that were white and featured brown cut diamonds. Seven arched windows let in a lot of natural light in which was an added benefit for the room since it was located on the Boat Deck.

A DECK (Promenade Deck)

The Grand Staircase
The showpiece of the Olympic-class vessels was the elaborate Grand Staircase. The staircase was located between the first and second funnels and extended through six decks. The style of the staircase was done up in late 17th century William and Mary Style. The main stunning architecture was situated in A-deck foyer, where the staircase was capped by huge wrought iron dome where a large chandelier graced the center. At the landing of the stairs were two carved figures surrounding a clock. The depiction was to symbolize Honour and Glory crowing time. Each foyer besides D-deck and F-Deck was paneled in rich carved oak and the floor was laid with linoleum tiles with decorative black patterns against a white background.
The Reading and Writing Room
The Reading and Writing Room was located forward of the lounge and was reserved for woman. The room was done up in Georgian style and was paneled in white with delicate molded details which graced the walls and the ceiling. In keeping with the Smoking Room this room received a large fireplace and above was a large oval gilded mirror. When one walked into the room, the sudden impression would be the space. The room was so spacious that additional staterooms were added because of the high demand for passenger accommodations, which was found on Titanic. Large unique windows including a rounded bay offered great view, but this was somewhat restricted on Titanic because of the addition of an enclosed promenade, one of Titanic improvements. The room was carpeted in a dark pink and fitted out with armchairs and writing desks.
The Lounge
The only word, which can describe the surroundings of this room, would be “luxury”. The lounge was situated in the center of A-deck between the second and third funnels. The room was done up in Louis Quinze style and the details were taken from the Palace of Versailles. The walls were decorated in rich oak paneling with intricate carved details and the room was split up into large alcoves that added privacy to the most heated discussions between passengers. A fireplace with a large mirror was situated at the forward wall and abreast the third funnel casing stood a mahogany bookcase where a passenger could sit down and read. The mantelpiece also featured a miniature statue of a Greek goddess, which was one of the details copied from Versailles. The floor was covered an ornate floral carpet and the large bay windows gave an unbroken view of the sea. The furniture ranged from soft easy chairs to tea tables. The most interesting feature was the grand chandelier, which dominated the center of the ceiling. A grand piano graced one corner of the room, where passengers would later recall the upbeat tune of Alexander’s Ragtime band being played with sprit on the keys.
The Aft Grand Staircase
The Aft Grand Staircase was located between the third and fourth funnels and extended down three decks. It featured the same oak wood balustrades as the forward staircase and also featured the same style wrought iron dome above the stairs. The only major differences were instead of having an intricately carved clock on the landing it featured a less simple version. Titanic’s A-deck foyer also had some added improvements. Two additional staterooms, A-36 and A37 were placed both port and starboard sides between the stairs. This idea was also added onboard the Olympic in her 1913 refit. Immediately below the A-deck balcony was the Restaurant’s reception room.
The Smoking Room
This room was reserved for males only and was situated at the aft end of A-deck promenade. This room was done up in a Georgian style. It was paneled in the best mahogany with painted stained glass windows, which could be lighted from behind creating a warm atmosphere. Four large bay windows over looked the promenade, each window painted with unique patterns. The furniture ranged from leather chairs to playing tables with cup holders. A fireplace stood at the aft wall and above was a painting of Plymouth Harbor by artist Norman Wilkinson. A revolving door was situated just right of the fireplace, which entered into the airy port side palm court. The Titanic’s Smoking room had a different look regarding linoleum tile colours to the Olympic. When Ken Marshall visited the wreck site in 2000 he discovered that Titanic’s were colored in a dark red and blue. According to historians Eric Sauder and Parks Stephenson, the speculation is that the chairs and settees were changed to a burgundy colour. Though it is uncertain on what the chairs were colour wise, the burgundy would not only match the flooring but also would give the room a distinct character that would differ from her sistership.
The Veranda and Palm Courts
The Veranda and Palm Courts were two identical rooms situated on both port and starboard sides of the ship. These rooms were done up in a Mediterranean style. These rooms featured large arch windows that stretched from top to bottom, which overlooked the promenade. This allowed a large amount of sunlight, to reflect off the mirrors placed on the walls in the form of fake arched windows. Dark green trellising allowed ivy to climb up the walls. The wicker furniture gave such an informal look compared to the rest of the interiors of the ship that passengers would be somewhat relieved when entering the light airy cafes. The floor tiles were assembled in a checkered effect and were coloured orange and white. Sliding doors lead out to the aft promenade deck.

B DECK (Bridge Deck)

The A la Carte Restaurant
The A la Carte Restaurant was located on B-deck just near the Aft Grand Staircase. This room was an alternative to the Dining room, which had a fixed standard menu. The room was paneled in French walnut with gilded details and in a style of Louis XVI. The room was carpeted in a dark rosy colour and crystal chandeliers hanged from the delicately modeled ceiling. A total of 49 tables were graced the room, each with their own crystal lamp. The chairs were covered in a peachy colour inlaid with an ornate gold pattern. This room was so popular on the Olympic that the restaurant on Titanic was extended.
The Restaurant Reception
The Reception Room was located just outside the Restaurant and adjacent to the Aft-Grand Staircase. The room was done up in a Georgian style and the walls were paneled in white with modeled details. The floor was laid with linoleum tiles, which were covered by large elaborate rugs. The room was fitted with elegant chairs and settees, which were upholstered in silk. A piano was also situated in one corner for the band to play the popular waltzes of the time. The most impressive feature of the room was the sweeping staircase, which was paneled in oak.
The Café Parisien
The Café Parisien was located just parallel to the reception room and restaurant. This room was painted white with white trellising for ivy to grow up the walls and the floor was pine decking. A long carpet stretched down the middle of the room. This cafe was first introduced on Titanic and then added later on Olympic. The main highlights of this room were the large windows that overlooked the sea. These windows could be opened to let the sea breeze enter the room and it seemed like a sidewalk cafe. There were two main entrances in this room, one entryway was through the reception room and the other was situated further aft in the corridor which lead to the restaurant. The wicker furniture gave an informal setting like the Veranda and Palm Court that appealed to the younger passengers. This room certainty gave the Titanic bit of French style.

C DECK ( Shelter Deck)

The Maids and Valets Saloon
This room was located on C-deck just beside the aft grand staircase on the starboard side. Note this is only a prediction of the room since there are no photographs of this area onboard the Olympic or Titanic. This Saloon was for the Maids and Valets and was paneled in white with a very simple design. The room could allow 56 people to dine at the same time. There were six long tables and chairs that were bolted to the floor. The floor was laid with linoleum tiles, which may have had a design like the tiles featured in the second-class dining saloon or the style in the barbershop.
The Barber Shop
This room was situated on C-deck just beside the aft grand staircase on the portside. This room had a similar rule like the smoking room that the barbershop was reversed for males only. There were two purposes of this room, one to offer a male a good quality haircut and secondly, to sell souvenirs and other memorabilia of an Atlantic crossing. The room could allow two males to have a haircut at the same time. It also featured reclining chairs and marble washbasins. It also provided a couch where a passenger could wait until they would get some service. The floor was covered with linoleum tiles.

D DECK (Saloon Deck)

The Reception Room
The Reception room was located on D-deck and was single storey. This room extended the whole width of the ship (like the dining saloon) and was paneled in white with modeled ceilings and crystal chandeliers. Arch windows were lit from behind bathing everything with light that made the room appear if it was on land instead of being situated deep down inside a hull of a ship. The furniture was wicker and was arranged in-groups, which were placed in designated areas. Other unique items included a black grand piano and some palm trees. The floor was covered in elaborate Axminster carpet, which was coloured in a dark red with a blue and gold overlapping pattern. At the aft end of the room, were two entry doors (on each side of the second funnel casing) that were decorated in rich oak and inlaid with ornate and gilded grillwork. The aft wall also featured large arch glassed windows that looked into the saloon.

The Dining Saloon

The Dining Saloon was the largest room afloat and could seat 550 people. The room was done up in 17th century Jacobean Style and was paneled in white with carvings and beautiful modeled ceilings. The room was one storey and was divided up in alcoves where passengers could dine in privacy. The alcoves featured large lead glass windows, which could be lit from behind. This gave the impression that the room was onshore instead of being at sea. The furniture was oak and the chairs were intricately carved and were covered in dark green leather. The tables seated eight to four people in single seating. Referring to the archives from Saloon of the Olympic in her early years, the chairs moved in and out on a pinion set. This would allow a passenger to sit comfortably at the table, unlike ocean liners a couple of years before, when chairs remained bolted to the floor. An interesting feature regarding the floor was the linoleum tiles. The design was a complex ornate pattern that gave the room a sense of Edwardian style. Historians are still discussing what the original colourings of the tiles but so far the current theory is a light blue overlaid with a dark red and gold pattern. An upright piano was situated near the front of the room and used for the band and divine services.

F DECK (Middle Deck)

The Swimming Pool

Located on the starboard side on F-deck just near the main foyer was the Swimming Pool. This was one of White Star’s fitness features like the Gymnasium and Squash Court, which encouraged exercise. The pool was laid with ceramic tiles that were coloured dark blue and white. There were two stairways that lead down into the pool with teak handrails to prevent someone from slipping down the stairs. The bulkheads were painted white and piping was fixed on the ceiling. Though this gave the room a stark appearance the idea was common sense, since salt water in the pool would damage any paneling. Dressing boxes were situated on the left side of the pool that featured teak doors and the floor was laid with linoleum tiles, patterned in a sky blue against white linoleum tiling.

The Turkish Baths

The Turkish Baths was situated just behind main foyer on F-deck. The room was done up in Arabian style of the Seventeenth Century and featured bronze lamps intricately patterned walls. The floor was covered with ornate tiles, coloured in dark blue. The purpose of this room was for relaxation after a sauna. The room featured comfortable chairs and lounging sofas. At one side of the room featured a ornate drinking fountain and on the starboard side was a elaborate cabinet with a attached mirror. Four portholes looked into the room allowing a glimpse of natural light to enter the well-appointed room. The whole room had a mystical atmosphere that would greet the passengers wishing to have a comfortable relaxation.

The Squash Court

The Squash Court was situated on F-deck and was another fitness encouragement for the passengers. The room was double height and full size. The court could be used for squash and tennis. Nets were also provided for these services. A viewing balcony was also situated at E-deck at the aft end of the room where a passenger could watch the rather heart pumping activity. Competitions could be held and a coach was also provided for the beginners.


· Titanic by Leo Marriott. First published in 1997 by Promotional Reprint Book Company Ltd.

· Titanic by Peter Thresh. First published in 1992 by Parkgate Books Ltd.

· James Cameron’s Titanic Explorer Interactive CD-ROM. Released in 1997 by Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.

· Titanic: An Illustrated History by Donald Lynch and Ken Marshall. First published in 1992 by Hodder & Stoughton.

· Ken Marshall’s Art of Titanic. Forward by James Cameron and text by Rick Archbold. First published in 1998 Allen and Unwin.

· Inside the Titanic: A giant cutaway book. Paintings by Ken Marshall and text by Hugh Brewster. Published by Allen and Unwin.

· Lost Liners by Robert Ballard and Rick Archbold, paintings by Ken Marshall. First published in 1997 by Allen and Unwin.

· Titanic & Her Sisters, Olympic and Britannic by Tom McCluskie, Michael Sharpe and Leo Marriott. First Published in 1998 by Parkgate Books Ltd.

· James Cameron’s Titanic. Forward by James Cameron and text by ED W. Marsh. By Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount pictures. First published by Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.

· Distinguished Liners from the Shipbuilder 1906-1914. Warren, Mike D. Vol. 1. New York. Blue. Riband Publications, Inc., 1995.

· Titanic Adventure Out of Time-CD-ROM: Released in 1996 by Cyberflix and Dream Factory.

· Titanic:Breaking New Ground - Documentary written and directed by Dough Mc Callie. 1998 Fox Broadcasting Company.


· http://www.flashnet/~sparks12/titanic.html

This site was very informative and has been a very valuable resource. The site is by Parks Stephenson who had given me a great deal of information. Though this site is not active at the moment I found it a great resource. Keep up the good work Parks, your hard work is truly admired.


This site tells us about an era long gone, when majestic ships ploughed through the Atlantic, there size and comfort attracting the richest of passengers. It also tells us about each tragic end of these great ships that now rest at the bottom of the ocean and the explorations that have occurred.


This site is focused on Titanic first-class interiors and has a lot of photographs and postcards of the public rooms.


This is a great web site by Philip Hind. His careful researched passenger and crew biographies, archive recordings; music recordings make this site the best on the web. The most interesting feature is the Discussion Board, which has not only increased my own knowledge of the Titanic but let me also contact some great historians who have given me there own views and knowledge about the Titanic.


Another great site with also another message board. Some great photographs of the Olympic and Titanic and other liners of the past. Great finished model kit sets as well.

Special Thanks

Thanks to all the people on Encyclopedia Titanica and Titanic Research and Modeling Association boards who supplied me information for this article. These include Eric and Bill Sauder, Parks Stephenson, David Hudson, Brandon Whited, Rolf Vonk, Daniel Klistorner, Mark Chirnside, Bruce Beveridge (who supplied me with some photo references) Dan Cherry, Steve Hall, Michael Pell and Scott Andrews and I wish good luck to you all in the future. A special thanks to the The Debris Field General Ocean Forum Site who gave me some help at the beginning of this year,but it was not related to this article.