Date of birth: 27 January 1850 Place of birth: Hanley, Staffordshire, England Marital status: Married Spouse: Sarah Eleanor Pennington Children: Helen Melville Smith (1898–1973) Address: Woodhead, Winn Road, Portswood Southampton Hampshire England Crew position: Titanic's Captain Date of death: 15 April, 1912 Cause of death: Unconfirmed; body never recovered
Captain Smith's Titanic Furniture
In the city of Belfast there are two items of furniture allegedy designed for installation in Captain Smith's quarters - a large table and sideboard. However, there is presently no way of verifying whether they were actually intended for Titanic.
Visitors to Belfast City Hall will be greeted with a sideboard that is claimed to have been destined for Captain Smith's quarters. As it is on loan from Harland & Wolff its origin is perhaps not in doubt - but its destination has not been independently verified. A sign accompanying the display reads:
This sideboard manufactured at Harland & Wolff was destined for the Captain's quarters on RMS Titanic, but for some reason this piece never made it to the ship. After touring the City as a fine example of the workmanship of the Belfast yard at the time, it is now on long term loan to Belfast City Hall.
The "Titanic table" which is claimed to have been intended for Captain Smith's quarters is presently situated in the Belfast Harbour Office.
Circa 1911/1912, this group of furniture was
commissioned for the White Star Liner R.M.S. Titanic
for use in the private quarters of the Captain and
Master, Captain Edward Smith.
It was intended that these pieces would be finished
and installed in time for the vessel’s maiden voyage,
departing from Southampton on Wednesday, April
10th, 1912. Unfortunately, at the time, the furniture
was not quite ready and the ship left for Southampton,
bound for Cherbourg, Cork and then New York, without
these items on board. In a matter of days the furniture
became available and was in storage to await the
first homecoming of the Titanic later that month. In the
aftermath of the tragic sinking of Titanic, the furniture
was no longer considered of any relevance and lay in
storage – forgotten and undisturbed – for many years
until it was eventually retrieved by its owners, Harland
& Wolff. It is only a consequence of the slightly late
delivery that these items did not go to the bottom of the
Atlantic Ocean in Titanic, rendering their survival most
remarkable and poignant.
The sideboard designed for Captain Smith’s cabin
is currently on display by Belfast City Council in the
newly refurbished City Hall. In 2009, the table was
a centrepiece of the Antiques Roadshow visit to the
Titanic Quarter development within the old Harland
& Wolff Drawing Offices. The expert valuer from the
programme found the craftsmanship of the table to be
quite unremarkable; however, the story of Titanic and
the mythology surrounding the ship across the globe
meant that a value couldn’t be placed on the table. (The
Office - A Visual Guide)
How the Captain's table escaped a watery grave
Visitors to the grand 1895 HQ of the Harbour Commissioners in Corporation Square, Belfast, can view an Edwardian mahogany table and Queen Anne style chairs that should by rights be at the bottom of the North Atlantic.
Designed by cabinetmaker Gilbert Logan at Harland & Wolff’s workshop, they were intended for the private quarters of the Titanic’s captain, Edward John Smith. However, because of a late delivery, they never reached their destination.
The table would have been fixed to a base to prevent movement at sea but, in the event, the only calamity to befall these fine pieces was to languish unloved in a store cupboard before finding a good home.
The Antiques Roadshow found them literally priceless, because of their history, and didn't give them a cash valuation on their visit to the Titanic Quarter in 2009.
("Titanic: How the Captain's table escaped a watery grave" - Belfast Telegraph, March 24 2012)