Majestic I

Majestic I was launched at Harland and Wolff's Belfast yard on 29th June, 1889, weighing in at 9,965 tons, and was the sister ship of Teutonic.

In order to help fund the construction of Teutonic and Majestic I, the White Star Line approached the British government, and proposed the construction of two new liners, which, in times of war, could be rapidly converted for use by the Admiralty, as either troop-carriers or armed merchantmen (AMC). The government of course would fund, or assist the funding of, the two liners, and in return, the Admiralty had at their disposal two crack transatlantic liners capable of transporting whole divisions thousands of miles. The proposal was approved, and Harland and Wolff began to design the ships, which would become the first new ships on White Star's transatlantic route for almost 15 years.

Majestic I's maiden voyage commenced the following year, on April 2nd, between Liverpool and New York, and between then and 1907, she was used exclusively by the White Star Line on this run.

Majestic I once held the Blue Riband for a westbound Liverpool - New York crossing of 5 days, 18 hours and 8 minutes, at an verage speed of just over 20 knots, and one of her claims to fame was that she was one of Captain Edward John Smith's previous commands.

Majestic IThe only exceptions to this rule were two trooping movements during the Boer War, one in December 1899, and the other in February 1900. This involved loading-up with British troops at Southampton, see picture above, and sailing for Cape Town in South Africa, where the troops were disembarked. The fascinating photograph shown here on the left depicts Majestic I embarking soldiers at Southampton, England. Notice the lifeboats on the upper decks.

In the June of 1907, the White Star Line moved it's main port of departure from Liverpool in the North West of England to Southampton in the South, and Majestic I continued to sail to New York from there until November, 1911, when the first of the Olympic-class liners, Olympic, entered service. Majestic I was now surplus to requirements, and was withdrawn to be stored. However, in April 1912, she was reinstated in tragic circumstances, after the sinking of Titanic .

Majestic I continued on her North Atlantic stomping ground, making her last voyage on 14th January, 1914.

Majestic IMajestic I was bought at auction on 16th April by Thomas Ward scrap merchants of Sheffield for £26,700, and sailed under her own steam to the company's Morecambe, Lancashire, breakers depot, arriving in the May of 1914.

Majestic I was the star attraction of the summer season in Morecambe, and the ever-so-canny Wards opened her to the public for a small admission fee, virtually in the same condition as she had last crossed the Atlantic, and needless to say, Wards raised more than a few pounds this way! Visitors could even read various logs and documents which reputedly bore the by now late Captain Edward Smith's signature.

Much of Majestic I's better panelling and furniture is believed to have ended up in Sheffield, where it was used in the firm's offices.


N.B. Image source Wikipedia



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