The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase aboard Olympic.
No photographs of Titanic's staircase
are known to exist.
Titanic is a wonder of marine engineering, but the public was amazed by something else... Luxury! 

 The centerpiece of Titanic was the First Class Forward Grand Staircase with its graceful sweep of paneled and carved oak surfaces, accented with wrought iron and bronze foliage. Behind it were three elevators for the passengers that would rather to ride. The staircase spanned six decks and was topped with a dome of white glass and wrought iron. The dome let in natural sunlight during the day, and was lit up at night by a large gilt metal framed chandelier with glass-bead panels and cut glass. On the wall at the top of the stairs, was a carved oak clock depicting two figures known as "Honor and Glory Crowning Time". The stairs were slender at the top, but fanned out wider at the landing of each deck. The landings and hallways were lit up by crystal ceiling fixtures and had white and black tiled floors. The staircase started at the boat deck and descended through A, B, and C decks, down to the First Class Reception Room on D deck, and then ended at E deck. A smaller and less elegant version of the staircase was located further aft of the ship. All together it was a wondrous achievement. 


A contemporary drawing of the Grand Staircase
for the White Star Line publicity brochure
"Olympic & Titanic Largest Steamer in the World"
The Grand Staircase is described as follows in the "Olympic" & "Titanic" Largest Steamers in the World (1911), White Star Line publicity brochure with colored illustrations:

We leave the deck and pass through one of the doors which admit us to the interior of the vessel, and, as if by magic, we at once lose feeling that we are on board a ship, and seem instead to be entering the hall of some great house on shore. Dignified and simple oak paneling covers the walls, enriched in a few places by a bit of elaborate carved work, reminiscent of the days when Grinling Gibbons collaborated with his great contemporary, Wren.

In the middle of the hall rises a gracefully curving staircase, its balustrade supported by light scrollwork of iron with occasional touches of bronze, in the form of flowers and foliage. Above all a great dome of iron and glass throws a flood of light down the stairway, and on the landing beneath it a great carved panel gives its note of richness to the otherwise plain and massive construction of the wall. The panel contains a clock, on either side of which is a female figure, the whole symbolizing Honour and Glory crowning Time. Looking over the balustrade, we see the stairs descending to many floors below, and on turning aside we find we may be spared the labour of mounting or descending by entering one of the smoothly-gliding elevators which bear us quickly to any other of the numerous floors of the ship we may wish to visit.

The staircase is one of the principal features of the ship, and will be greatly admired as being, without doubt, the finest piece of workmanship of its kind afloat.


A detailed view of the Grand Staircase.
(Painting By: Ken Marschall)

 Pictured below are views of the Grand Staircase from James Cameron's film "Titanic".

A Deck Landing

Boat Deck View - Starboard

Boat Deck View - Starboard Aft

Half Landing View

D Deck Landing - Reception Room