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White Star Line Memorial Foundation
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The emerging premier resource for White Star Line History.
The emerging premier resource for White Star Line History.

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The 1880s and 1890s were periods of great graphics on White Star Line ephemera. Here is a passenger list from the Britannic dated Thursday, November 25th, 1886 for the New York to Liverpool voyage. It’s one of many such lists in our extensive collection.
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Our sincerest apologies for not updating this page in awhile. We have been extremely busy with a major find we made a few years ago and have been actively trying to get final plans in place so we can make an official announcement soon. We can only say, for now, that this discovery is BIG and will astound the White Star Line enthusiasts who share an interest in the complete history of the White Star Line, so stay tuned!

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R.M.S. Oceanic (II) 1st Class Smoking Room
 
Here is a magnificent view of the R.M.S. Oceanic’s (1899) 1st Class Smoking Room taken from original Glass Slides in the White Star Line Memorial Foundation’s archives. Notice the floor tiles in this area. They were India Rubber tiles made by the India Rubber, Gutta Percha & Telegraph Works Co., Ltd. London. This pattern was very popular at the time and was used on numerous ships built by Harland & Wolff for other lines as well as several White Star Line Ships, including the R.M.S. Corinthic. The inset (lower left) it a full pattern of tiles, in the White Star Line Memorial Foundation’s collection, from the White Star Liner R.M.S. Corinthic.

R.M.S. Oceanic departed on her maiden voyage on 6 September 1899 and was the largest ship in the world until 1901. She was named after White Star Line’s first liner, the R.M.S. Oceanic of 1870.

She was commissioned into the service of the Royal Navy at the outbreak of World War I on 8 August 1914, as an armed merchant cruiser.

While on patrol in the Royal Navy the H.M.S. Oceanic ran aground and was wrecked off the Island of Foula, in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, on 8 September 1914.
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Details of the Turkish and Swimming Pool areas aboard the Olympic and Titanic.
 
In 2012, the Director of the White Star Line Memorial Foundation was approached by Parks Stephenson with a request to use material from our archives that was posted on a forum the Foundation had at that time and providing details of the Turkish Bath areas. Parks asked the Director if the material could be used in James Cameron’s next book. The details were regarding the material used in the Needle Baths (Showers) of the Swimming Pool aboard the Olympic, and the details regarding the decorative Pilkington tiles and the pillars used in the Cooling Room in the Turkish bath were also sought. Although the materials used were known in the Titanic Community, their details in design were not. The information on all of the details requested were provided and were use in the book “Exploring the Deep: The Titanic Expeditions” with credits cited for the Director.
 
The material used on the walls of the Needle Baths aboard the Olympic (shown in the upper portion of the image) was a product called Emdeca; a special material consisting of zinc covered tin sheet finished with an enamel surface. Emdeca came in small sheets which were applied to the wall with a special paste supplied by the makers. The product soon proved unsatisfactory aboard the Olympic as the salt from the sea water quickly corroded the edges and the Emdeca panels were replaced. Evidence shows that Emdeca wasn’t installed aboard the Titanic, or was removed before she was put into service.
 
The information provided was used by Parks Stephenson to create more accurate CGI images of the Turkish and Swimming Bath areas, and the details regarding the Pilkington Tiles also contributed to the recreation of a panel of the Pilkington tiles by James Cameron.
 
The images shown are just a few of those provided to Parks Stephenson for inclusion in the book, along with textual data, and to assist in improving the knowledge of these areas of the Olympic and Titanic.
 
The decorative tiles, and tile and marble back-splash from the R.M.S. Olympic's Cooling Room Fountain (pre-installation), shown lower centre and lower right, are from the original archives of the now closed Pilkington tile works. The details of the pillars used in the Cooling Room are at the lower right of the image and comes from a reference book also in the Foundations archives.
 
The archives of the White Star Line Memorial Foundation are second to none and have a vast amount of information never before seen regarding many of the White Star Line ships, including the Olympic Class. Only Harland and Wolff had such data, and sadly their records were largely destroyed during WWII.
 
We wish to acknowledge the following individuals for their help in adding information regarding the Turkish Bath areas of the Olympic Class Ships to our archives: Seb Mersier-Bouscaud, Richard Smith, and Barry Corbett.
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Harry Haven Homer
 
The Director of the White Star Line Memorial Foundation has been honored with the friendship of the Grand Niece of Harry Haven Homer, a well known figure in the story of the Titanic. Harry was one of the gamblers aboard hoping to separate some of the 1st Class elite from as much of their wealth as possible. Harry not only had a reputation on the sea but was well known for his many illegal schemes on land in the U.S., Canada and other countries.
 
The foundation has conducted extensive research on Harry and the Titanic gamblers, uncovering a great amount of detail previously unknown. The foundation has been given numerous original items from Harry’s personal effects and his family, including letters, photographs, and two decks of his tools of the trade; playing cards with one deck being a White Star Line deck from the Titanic herself.
 
The photo of Harry was taken c1912, and was used in Indianapolis newspapers which ran fanciful stories of him having survived the disaster. Harry’s sister lived in Indianapolis at the time of the disaster and used her address as one of his own. Harry had owned a business in the city some years before. The cards shown are those Harry had in his pocket when he and his gambling buddies left the ship for the safety of a lifeboat. There is another set of cards which once belonged to Harry on the main page of our web site.
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2015-07-08
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One of two encaustic tiles, made by Minton's, recovered from the wreck of the White Star Liner R.M.S. Atlantic

The R.M.S. Atlantic was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast in 1870, the Atlantic departed Liverpool on her 19th voyage on the 20th of March 1873 with 952 people on board, of whom 835 were passengers. The crew decided to make port at Halifax, Nova Scotia to replenish coal for the boilers for fear there was not a sufficient supply of good coal aboard to complete the voyage to New York.

On the evening March 31st the Atlantic making her way through a storm, proceeded at 12 knots (22 km/h) for the entrance of Halifax Harbour. Experiencing intermittent visibility and heavy seas, the crew was unaware that the Atlantic was approximately 12 1⁄2 miles (20.1 km) off-course to the west of Halifax Harbour.

At 3:15 a.m. local time on April 1st 1873, the Atlantic struck an underwater rock off Marr's Head, Meagher's Island (now Mars Head, Mars Island), Nova Scotia. In the harrowing events that unfolded some 535 people died, leaving only 371 survivors. The ship's manifest indicates that of the 952 aboard, 156 were women and 189 were children on board (including two who had been born during the voyage). All women and all children perished except for one twelve-year-old boy, John Hindley. Ten crew members were lost, while 131 survived. This was the greatest maritime disaster in the Northern Atlantic at the time.

The tiles in the White Star Line Memorial Foundation collection are the only ones known to have been recovered from the wreck and made available, as are the majority of items in the collection, for public viewing.
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What are you searching for? Contact us, we likely have it.

Whether you’re a lay person fascinated with the White Star Line or ships in general, represent a media service or a museum, are engaged in researcher or are an educator, if you’re searching for information, and haven’t found it elsewhere, we likely have it. Our archives consist of materials collected over a nearly five decade span. The archives are largely first hand information gathered from in field research, and can give definitive answers where others only speculate. Many claiming authority speculate about events and history of the White Star Line or provide information they found online that are second hand accounts at best, and often filled with factual errors.  Even the White Star Line made errors about their history in several publications. An example of this is the origin of the star in the White Star Line burgee. White Star claimed in one issue of the White Star Magazine that it came from a star on the breast of the Red Jacket’s Figurehead. This couldn’t be true because the Red Jacket was built in 1853, and the White Star Line was founded four years earlier. The Red Jacket’s figurehead had no star on its breast. Only through careful research, collecting reliable materials which are first hand accounts, and cross referencing data gathered in the field can a more accurate history be uncovered.

The White Star Line Memorial Foundation and its Director have produced numerous articles for publications including the Nomadic Preservation Society journal “Lone Star”, and the British Titanic Society publication “Atlantic Daily Bulletin”. The Director has worked closely with Museums and Societies including the Peter Scott Gallery and Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society providing information, identifying tiles and photos that were created for the Olympic and Titanic. He was a contributor to James Cameron’s book "Exploring the Deep: The Titanic Expeditions" using data and images from the White Star Line Memorial Foundation Archives, and from past collaborations with the Peter Scott Gallery and Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society that answered long asked questions.

The foundation also provided images and information to Parks Stephenson regarding the Turkish Bath Tiles and Swimming Bath areas for his article in THS Commutator No 203. The Director was credited for surfacing material from the Peter Scott Gallery, Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society and antique books which were used for Stephenson's CGI re-creations.

We also have extensive materials on companies associated with the White Star Line including agents, suppliers, and much more.

There’s a reason we are contacted by people and organizations having a high reputation. We have answers that others don’t.

Contact us and discover what others missed.

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The front of White Star Line Ex Royal Mail Australian Packets stationary held in our archives. Originally dated the 3rd of July, 1866, it is a remarkable historical document in many regards and mentions the great White Star Line Clippers "White Star" and “Red Jacket." Used as a personal letter dated August 1st, 1866, it hints at the troubles the company was having. The writer Sarah tells her brother that she would write her mother, but she doesn't have another envelope, and cannot get one as they have not received their basics. She later writes she must end her letter as she is out of ink. It serves as a striking indication of the financial difficulties and impending insolvency of the company, which would be sold along with five of its remaining ships to Thomas Henry Ismay, on the 18th of January, 1868. Ismay would continue the Australian route under an agreement with Henry Threlfall Wilson.

Thomas H. Ismay had a high respect for Henry T. Wilson, and greatly admired the White Star Line. Ismay carried over many of the emblems from the early “White Star” Line. An example can be seen in the book stamp (insert) used in the 1870's to identify ownership of books in the libraries aboard the ships. It clearly reflects the emblem seen in the letter above.

Henry Threlfall Wilson, the remaining founder of the "White Star" Line at the time of its insolvency, died of stomach cancer at Surbiton, England on the 1st of November, 1869. He was only 44.
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Two great 'White Star' Ships, the 'Red Jacket' and the 'Olympic', meet for the first time at the White Star Line Memorial Foundation offices.
The stanchions are teak and pitch pine from the White Star Clipper 'Red Jacket', and the curved trim in front is from the 1st Class Smoke Room ceiling of the R.M.S. 'Olympic'.
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