1890 - 1914
famous White Star Line had started business back in 1871 when they commissioned
the first Oceanic. This ship was only some 3,700 gross tons, but
as time advanced greater and greater White Star liners came into life on
the North Atlantic. A few years later, in 1874, the White Star Line commissioned
the first Britannic and a year later, her sister Germanic.
These two liners were powerful enough to wrestle the Blue Riband into their
hands from the Inman Line’s City of Berlin. The Britannic
held the eastbound record until 1879 when the Guion Line’s Arizona
took it, and the Germanic held the westbound until 1882 when she
lost it to another
Guion liner – the Alaska.
It would take many years before the White Star Line once again would have
the Blue Riband in possession.
|The fine lines of the
Majestic are clearly visible in this port-side view.
eager to win back the Blue Riband, White Star ordered two new liners –
which would be close to 10,000 gross tons each – in 1887. These two would
be designed as record-breakers with a service speed above twenty knots.
The first of the two was named Teutonic and completed her maiden
voyage in 1889. She did not manage to beat the City of Paris’ present
record crossings. From then on, all hopes where on the Teutonic’s
sister who was to enter service within short.
sister was launched and christened Majestic on June 29, 1889. Immediately
afterwards the fitting out commenced, and by late March the next year the
vessel was completed and handed over to White Star. The Majestic’s
maiden voyage occurred on April 2 and it took her six days and ten hours
to complete the distance between Liverpool and New York. Unfortunately,
this was not enough to gain the Blue Riband and it remained in the City
of Paris’ possession. However, the following year – in July – the Majestic
finally beat the record and took the Blue Riband. The crossing time was
extremely bettered with five days, eighteen hours an eight minutes between
Queenstown and Sandy Hook. The average speed had been 20.1 knots.
stayed on the Liverpool-New York route until December 1899, when she was
called in as a troop ship in the Boer War. She made her first trooping
voyage between Liverpool and Cape Town the same month, and the second and
last one in February the next year.
and 1903, Majestic was enlarged to 10,147 gross tons during a refit
which included the reduction of one of the masts and a heightening of the
two funnels. She also received new boilers. The Majestic continued
on her original route with these modifications without any major mishaps
– except for a bunker fire damage in 1905 – until 1907. In this year, White
Star moved their main terminal from Liverpool to Southampton.
On June 26, the Majestic completed her first voyage on the Southampton-New
the White Star Line commissioned the world’s largest ship. She was the
breathtaking 45,000 gross ton Olympic, and with her arrival on the
scene, Majestic was relegated to a reserve ship, and spent much
time laid up at Bidston Dock in Birkenhead. By April 1912, she was moved
to the innermost corner of the Ocean Dock in Southampton. From there she
had a first class seat to view the Titanic’s – second of the Olympic-class
– maiden departure on April 10. Most unfortunately, the Titanic
sank only five days later with a great loss of life. The wisdom of keeping
a reserve ship came into fruition when the Majestic later replaced
the Titanic on the distinguished route between Southampton and New
|A profile view of White Star's
of the Majestic career did unfortunately not include much. On October
17, 1913 she picked up the crew of the wrecked French schooner Garonne.
1913 was to be the last full year for the Majestic. On January 14,
1914, she made her last crossing to New York. After 24 years of service
she was then sold for £25,000 to Thos. W. Ward for demolition. She
arrived at the scrapyard on May 5.
Majestic would live on some eight years later when White Star named
their largest ship ever after the 1890-built liner. This ship who was the
third of the Imperator-class had been intended to be named Bismarck,
but fell into the hands of the British as a war-prize after World War I.
Majestic was a worthy name to this vessel, who also was the fastest
ship ever in White Star service.
|The Majestic - Specifications:
||582 feet (177.8 m)
||57.7 feet (17.6 m)
||9,965 gross tons
||Two triple expansion
engines powering two propellers.