Heritage100

Deckchair from the Olympic

Deckchair

Similar chairs were used on the decks of the Titanic.

The deckchair is from the Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic and the Britannic. The three ships were built for White Star by Harland and Wolff of Belfast. Similar chairs were used on the decks of the Titanic.

The Olympic started service in 1911 and was sold in 1935 for scrappage and salvage. Her fixtures and fittings were removed and sold.

The Titanic drew a large number of her crew from Southampton and her loss left many households severely affected. She launched May 1911 and arrived in Southampton on 3 April 1912, still being fitted out, she sailed from the port on 10 April and sank on 14 April.

The third ship, originally to be called the Gigantic, also has a sad story. After the loss of the Titanic she was renamed the Britannic and had many alterations made to her design. She was built in 1913, launched 1914 with her maiden voyage planned for 1915. However, the First World war started in 1914 and she was requisitioned as a hospital ship. Within a year she was lost at sea near Athens.

Quick Facts

  • Accession number 1089.198
  • Made of wood
  • Made in about 1911
  • Made for White Star
  • Used on The Olympic

Facts

  • One of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, Edith Haisman, remembered that when the ship began to sink, “they threw a lot of chairs overboard while we were standing on deck, so that if anybody went overboard they had something to hold on to”. During the Inquiry into the sinking, Chief Baker Joughin told of how he “threw about 50 deck chairs overboard… I was looking out for something to cling to”.
  • At the time of the sinking of the Titanic many people tried to save themselves by clinging to deckchairs, floating in the water. A passenger on a ship which passed the disaster area a few days later reported seeing “the bodies of three men in a group, all clinging to one steamer chair”.

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