On October 20, 1910, RMS Olympic was launched at Belfast. She was the first of a trio of steamships constructed for the White Star Line and, when built, was the largest ship in the world. Although she has frequently been overshadowed by the tragedy of her younger sister Titanic, Olympic had a long and illustrious career. Serving her country as a troopship during World War I, she was the only major passenger vessel ever to sink an enemy submarine. After the war, Olympic was refitted, and throughout the 1920s, she was a favorite liner of the rich and famous. Although sent to the breaker's yard in 1935, much of her decor remains because her fittings were sold at auction and many houses, hotels, pubs, offices, and factories were fitted with her sumptuous interiors. Nicknamed 'Old Reliable' and proudly advertised as the 'Ship Magnificent,' Olympic was one of the most beautiful liners to sail the transatlantic route and was a firm favorite of passengers. In this work, Brian Hawley brings together many previously unpublished images of White Star's finest vessel.
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About the Author:
White Star's salute to the city of Liverpool. On June 1, 1911, after an overnight trip from Belfast, Olympic arrived in her port of registry for a brief visit and open house before continuing on to Southampton and her maiden voyage. It was a bittersweet day for the citizens of Liverpool because, in 1907, White Star had transferred their main line New York service to Southampton. This view shows the brand-new liner from the Wirral side of the Mersey. The White Star Line headquarters are on the far right. Original painting from author's collection.
New York (The Mariners' Museum)
BACK COVER - The original painting for the famous post-card view of Olympic in Plymouth Harbor by renowned British artist Norman Wilkinson. Wilkinson produced a series of paintings for the smoking rooms of the three White Star sisters -- "Approach to the New World" for Olympic, "Plymouth Harbour" for Titanic, and (rumor says) "Old Liverpool" for Britannic. For decades Titanic researchers wondered what Wilkinson's painting for Titanic looked like. When Wilkinson's son found his father's ideas for the painting, it was identical to this famous post-card view of Olympic. Titanic's painting had been in front of us the whole time. (Original painting from the Peter Fleming Collection.)
Brian Hawley's interest in ocean liners began in 1985 with the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic. Since then, he has researched the great transatlantic passenger ships with special emphasis on the financial and engineering side as well as collected artifacts from them. He owns luxurylinerrow.com, a company that specializes in selling ocean-liner memorabilia.
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