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White Star Line, RMS Olympic. c-1911 original pitch pine & wood decking, reclaimed from Haltwhistle.

by Jonathan Quayle |

White Star Line's RMS "Olympic", her main boat deck, showing her pristine pitch pine decking.

White Star Line, RMS "Olympic", Back in stock, a collection of original sections of the ships very own wooden decking, c-1911.

Two of the lots of "Olympic" wood, as shown at the auction of Aldridges, prior to restoration.

These examples comes from the famous paint factory at Haltwhistle the was kitted out in the 1930's with countless articles from the famous White Star liner,  RMS "Olympic".

The ships original wooden decking (1911-1935) was used as flooring throughout the factory, where it remained until 2004 when the floor was taken up and sold off in parcels during the famous Ocean Liner/Atlantic Crossing auctions. Several parcels of this wood were purchased by a noted collector at that auction. These lots were recently re sold at the world famous Aldridges Titanic Auction in October 2016 and again in April this year, 2017. I purchased four lots of wood in various shapes and sizes from the two auctions.

I had a skilled master craftsman remove the later nails and apply a simply layer of wax and polish to show off the beauty of the woods grain. He then marked & stamped each piece with the following wording:- '1911 olympic 1935', with period style original metal stamps, contemporary to that used onboard the building of the "Olympic" class.

One of the smaller sections of restored wood showing the period metal stamps.

Two differing types of wood were amongst the lots, an oak type wood used for internal flooring, and large scale pitch pine decking from the liners beautiful open decks. Of particular note is the large section of pitch pine decking that still retains one of its original wooden 'plugs', hiding what what have been the principal attachment to the deck. Further more, incredibly a section of the ships original paint has survived, like the rings of a tree we can witness the life story of the ships time in active service. Multiple levels of white paint are clearly shown. Although its impossible to say where exactly this particular section came from its probable that is originated from the ships boat deck or Promenade. Clearly shown on the outside edges of this larger piece are the black residues of the caulking used to weatherproof the ships deck below. There is evidence that a piece of the ships equipment was once installed on this particular piece, its outline can still be seen, and this is where years of paintwork built up. You can see a red oxide metal perseverance type paint, then a brown boot topping paint along with the upper white paint that is most visible. Most surprisingly we can just see very faint traces of grey paint from her time of service in World War one, its almost like looking at the DNA of the Olympic herself! 

The largest section of pitch pine decking that I purchased, after a light restoration & clean, now nicely preserved with a simple layer of wax.

The original 'plug' cover to the main attachment to the deck, still in situ 100+ years later. 

Visible on the outside edges is the residue of the black caulking used to weatherproof and protect the deck below. 

The multiple layers of built up paint can clearly be seen. Here we see various layers of white, a red oxide and a brown boot topping. Also just visible under the white are faint traces of the grey from her wartime service.

A probable or similar location to where this larger section of wood decking might have originally come from, c-1911, RMS "Olympic".

In a world where there are a literal sea of fakes on the open market pertaining to the Olympic & Titanic, it is nice to be able to look at an article, no matter how humble, and be confidant in its provenance, knowing its total story from 1911 until the present day.

Each piece shows obvious signs of ware and tear for being 100+ years old, see pictures, I will be listing the ships timbers over the next few days.

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