Rare Titanic Pictures You Have to See to Believe
The RMS Titanic met its tragic end on April 15, 1912. For well over a century, the story of what was once considered the grandest ship on Earth has captivated our imagination — and this fascination only grew after James Cameron's 1997 film, "Titanic."
It's, of course, impossible to visit the historic ship, as most of it is still at the bottom of the ocean. But using Titanic pictures, we can recreate what it would have been like to walk through its decks, rooms and dining halls.
Join us on this virtual tour of the Titanic.
The Titanic's Maiden Voyage
The biggest irony of the Titanic's story is that the ship was marketed as unsinkable, yet sunk on its maiden voyage.
Its inaugural trip began in Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912. From there, it passed through Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland. It was making its way to New York City when it hit an iceberg and tragically sank.
The star on the map marks the place where the tragedy occurred.
The Titanic's Ship Plan
Before we begin our virtual tour of the Titanic, let's consider the ship's layout.
Though somewhat small by modern standards, the Titanic was gigantic for its time. There were 10 decks. The top one was the boat deck, the next eight decks were A to G, and then there was the orlop deck, which was below the water.
The only lower level was the tank top, which is where the engines, generators, boilers and turbines stood, though we won't be visiting that part.
For this tour, we'll start from the top of the ship and make our way down to the bottom.
As far as passengers were concerned, the top deck, known as the boat deck, was mainly used to go on leisurely walks. The deck was divided into four promenades, one for first-class passengers, one for second-class passengers, one for officers, and one for engineers.
Pictured above is the second-class promenade. Although it's nice, you can see the lifeboats obstructing the view, which was not the case in the first-class promenade.
This aesthetic decision would prove lethal when the ship sank, and there were not enough lifeboats for everyone aboard.
For first-class passengers wishing for a little more than a promenade, there was also a gym on the boat deck.
The gym was well-equipped for the time, boasting "modern" facilities that helped passengers keep active.
Though most passengers would not have gone into the wireless room in the boat deck, the room is significant, as it was the Titanic's connection to the world.
It is from here that distress signals would have been sent out as the ship was sinking. Accounts vary, but some say the signals reached the SS Californian, which failed to come to the rescue.
In the end, the RMS Carpathia was the only ship to respond to the distress calls, though it arrived two hours after the Titanic had sunk completely.
The Captain's Room
The boat deck also housed Captain Edward J. Smith's quarters.
Some claim that Smith was planning to retire after the Titanic's maiden voyage. As any good captain would do, he sank with the ship.
Moving down to the A-deck, there was yet another promenade, where passengers enjoyed leisure activities and socialized.
This promenade was reserved only for the snobby first-class passengers, who wouldn't have wanted to share space with the other passengers.
A-Deck Promenade Portside
The A-deck promenade also had a covered section, which included comfortable chairs from which the passengers could look out into the sea.
In Edwardian times, upper-class people would have wanted to avoid the sun, as being tan was connected to being non-white or to having to work in the fields. This space provided passengers a way to enjoy the outside without risking offending their classist and racist sensitivities.
If you've seen "Titanic," it is here where Jack teaches Rose to spit.
Dogs on the Promenade
The only other passengers that enjoyed the A-deck promenade were dogs. It was common for first-class passengers to travel with their pets, with whom they did not want to part (very understandable), so at least 12 dogs were aboard the Titanic.
Sadly, records show only three of them survived.
First-Class Smoking Room
Pictured here is a reconstruction of the first-class smoking room, which was also located on the A-deck.
Smoking rooms were used as a meeting and leisure place for men only, and it was customary for men to retire here after dinner.
Reading and Writing Room
Just as the men had their A-deck space in the smoking room, women had theirs in the reading and writing room.
This was meant for them to sit quietly and enjoy writing letters home. Men were allowed in the room, but it was primarily meant for women and children.
The room pictured here is actually from the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic. However, it was designed to be nearly identical to that of the Titanic.
This stateroom is actually from the B-deck but would have been similar to those in the A-deck.
There were no second- or third-class cabins on either A or B decks.
The Grand Staircase
One of the most recognizable features of the Titanic is its grand staircase.
The staircase connected all the decks where passengers would be, but it was most grandiose in the space between the A and B decks.
In the movie, the grand staircase is featured in a number of significant scenes, including Jack's array into first-class and the heart-wrenching last scene.
Once at the bottom of the grand staircase, you would've found yourself at the B-deck right in the reception area of the Á la Carte restaurant.
The reception area was meant to be a meeting point to socialize as guests waited to be seated for dinner.
À la Carte Restaurant
Though not the only first-class restaurant on the Titanic, À la Carte was certainly the most luxurious on the ship.
The restaurant was decorated in Louis VI style and was one of the largest rooms on the ship. Its name alludes to the innovation it presented: ordering à la carte rather than having to eat at a set time from a set menu.
Connected to Á la Carte was Café Parisien. As the name suggests, it was meant to imitate the ambience of a Parisian café, serving light snacks and breakfast as well as coffee, tea and other drinks throughout the day.
The café is featured in "Titanic" during the frightening scene where Cal threatens Rose.
This rendering shows what the hallways connecting the social areas to the guest rooms would have looked like.
More First-Class Rooms
Like the A-deck, the B-deck had only first-class rooms. These rooms had private bathrooms.
The picture above is of cabin B-58.
As we move down to the C-deck we also move away from first-class facilities.
This second-class library was on the Olympic, but it replicates the one on the Titanic. Here, passengers could come and enjoy quiet time while reading a book or writing letters.
As with the reading and writing room in first class, the space was mostly reserved for women and children.
Second-Class Smoking Room
The C-deck also had the second-class smoking room.
As you can see, it is not nearly as glamorous as the first-class one, but it's still decidedly cozy.
Third-Class Public Rooms
Third-class passengers didn't have the grandness of the reception room. Instead, they had a much humbler public room in the C-deck.
Here, people could gather to talk, socialize, eat snacks or have a light drink.
If one were to believe James Cameron, it was also where people enjoyed raucous parties.
Third-Class Smoking Room
They may have been third-class passengers, but White Star Line still wanted the men to have their smoking room.
You can definitely tell the difference between this smoking room and the one for the other classes. Tables are limited and individual seats are mostly replaced by long benches.
Still, at the time, these facilities were excellent compared to the ones other cruise liners offered in third class.
First-Class Reception Room
On the D-deck, we once again run into first-class facilities.
This room was the reception room for upper-class passengers who were eating at the main dining room rather than at the À la Carte restaurant.
First-Class Dining Room
The reception room led to the main dining room for first-class passengers on the D-deck.
Here, food was served at specific times from a pre-set menu. Unlike at À la Carte, however, the meals were included with a first-class ticket.
While not as sumptuous as the famed restaurant on the A-deck, the dining room was still designed to satisfy the tastes of upper-class passengers.
Second-Class Dining Room
The D-deck was also where you'd find the second-class dining room.
Decidedly less opulent than its first-class counterpart, the room was still decidedly elegant and would have made middle-class passengers feel like they were being treated luxuriously.
The C and D decks housed second-class rooms.
This illustration — provided in the White Star Line promotional material for the Titanic — illustrates the level of comfort second-class citizens would have enjoyed.
The room is smaller than first-class rooms, and the writing table is not as comfortable. But a couch for leisure is provided, and the room is private. Bathrooms in second class were shared.
Though on the same floor, third-class rooms were divided into bunkbeds where people were often placed with strangers. Still, people were actually assigned rooms and beds, unlike in other liners, were beds were open for anyone to take.
You could find third-class rooms from the D-decks to the G-decks.
There were reportedly only two bathrooms to be shared between all third-class passengers.
The E-deck was dominated by the so-called Scotland Road — a reference to a street in Liverpool by the same name. This was a long, uninterrupted hallway that was used by crew members and third-class passengers.
In "Titanic," the hallway is used to signify the inequality between classes, as third-class passengers on the E-deck try to escape the rising water, only to be ignored by crew members.
Along Scotland Road, you would've found most of the crew cabins, which are recreated in the picture above.
Because Scotland Road ran the length of the ship uninterrupted, it was a convenient place to have the crew quarters.
As is usual in ships, crew members shared a bedroom with multiple bunk beds.
The Olympic's second-class barbershop, pictured above, resembled that of the Titanic, which was located on the E-deck.
Here, second-class passengers could come in for a cut, a shave and simply to socialize away from the smoking room.
Third-Class Dining Saloon
Another Olympic picture that can help us visualize the Titanic, this image shows the third-class dining saloon.
Long communal tables replace the individual ones we saw in first and second class, and the chairs look decidedly less comfortable.
The saloon was located on the F-deck.
The F-deck was also the location for some of the ship's most opulent facilities, particularly the Turkish baths.
Reserved only for first-class passengers, the baths had a steam room as well as a cool room, illustrated above.
The baths have become famous for the state of preservation they have kept even after being at the bottom of the ocean for more than a century.
Besides the Turkish baths, the F-deck housed the ship's swimming pool. As with the baths, the pool was only open to first-class passengers who wished to pay a fee for using it.
Men and women couldn't bathe at the same time, so the pool was open to each gender at different hours.
Another facility limited to first-class passengers was the squash courts, which were located on the G-deck.
These were meant as an alternative exercise facility that charged passengers per hour of use.
Besides the squash courts, the G-deck had third-class rooms, the mailroom and a food storage room.
The lowest deck on the ship was the orlop deck.
No passenger facilities were found here, and only crew members were allowed to be in this level, which was used mainly for storage.
Though we can't verify that two star-crossed lovers ever found romance at this deck level, it is true that there was one luxury car being transported on the ship. As in the movie, it was a 1912 Renault Type CB Coupé de Ville. Owned by a William Carter, the car was worth the equivalent of about $130,000 today.
After the ship sunk, Carter — who survived the tragedy along with his wife and children— sued White Star Line in an attempt to get back the worth of his valuable car.
Though the sinking of the Titanic was probably unpreventable, a great part of the reason why the death count was so high was the lack of lifeboats.
This chart marks the main lifeboats aboard the Titanic in green, of which there are only 14. The two purple lifeboats are collapsible emergency ones and the two red ones are emergency cutters, ready to be lowered at a moment's notice in case someone fell overboard.
There were two additional lifeboats on the roof of the officer's quarters, making for a total of 20 lifeboats.
Passengers on Lifeboats
Laws at the time did not require there to be enough lifeboats for everyone on board, instead being meant mostly for saving other capsized boats.
The decision to have fewer lifeboats on the Titanic was also made in part to avoid obstructing the view for first-class passengers on the boat deck promenade.
With 20 lifeboats, there was enough capacity to save 1,178 people. However, many boats were not filled completely before being lowered onto the water.
Of the 2,240 people on board the Titanic, 1,504 died, and only 736 survived.
The Titanic Today
The Titanic continues to capture the public's imagination, with several expeditions led throughout the years to capture its wreck in video and to salvage remaining artifacts.
Unsurprisingly, James Cameron has been one of the most enthusiastic explorers of the Titanic wreck.