When the following
paragraph was written to describe some of the features of the 'Daniel
Adamson' in the 'About'
page, which encapsulate a brief history of the vessel, nobody amongst us
was aware of just how relevant the comments might be.
I quote 'Though
the activity of vandals over the past twenty years has served to remove
some of the splendour of the passenger accommodation, the fine interior
of the main and lower deck passenger saloons is still apparent being
more akin to that offered by liners of the period.'
Much later when I
compiled the articles entitled 'Remarkable Survivor' I mentioned (in
Part 5) the circumstances leading to the merger of The Cunard
Steamship Co. and the White Star Line, from which the legendary RMS
'Queen Mary' emerged, but at the expense of White Star Line's equally
ambitious 'Oceanic' which, had she been built would have been the latter
company's largest ever liner.
We know that the
Liverpool firm of Heaton & Tabb had drawn up the plans for the
modifications to the 'Ralph Brocklebank's' saloons and had carried out
much of the work which resulted in the transformation of the vessel, to
emerge as 'Daniel Adamson'
We were also aware
that some of the specialist work was carried out by craftsmen drawn from
the yard of John Brown, Clydebank, who having completed the interiors of
'Queen Mary' were no doubt glad to find a little extra employment in
those difficult days.
We have recently
acquired some artist's impressions of the saloon designs, which comprise
water colour renderings of proposed designs. We hope at some stage to
reproduce a sample of these impressions which date from the time of the
modifications, but by virtue of their age and delicacy, first and
foremost they must be carefully preserved. Besides, as we add to our
archive collection, we are building up quite an impressive array of
material which we hope one day to incorporate into a major display.
During the last few
months we have cleared a lot of items from the saloons, which for want
of space we had been forced to use for temporary storage.
The saloons are now
very much better than they were when DAPS was first formed. The deckhead
no longer leaks and the interior has thoroughly dried out which will
certainly help to conserve what remains of the panelling before a full
restoration is carried out.
In short we've had the
opportunity to look more closely at the saloon details and recently at
an area of what was at one time considered to be mere graffiti in an
area toward the top of the stairway. The area in question, comprises a
section of the underlying ply to which the veneers had once been applied
and has been exposed as these [veneers] have been stripped away due to
decay and/or wanton vandalism.
What we had initially
thought to be the scribblings of some wanton vandal, on closer
inspection turn out to be the pencilled notation of the dimensions of
certain panels, no doubt jotted down, long past perhaps by the craftsman
who carried out the work.
Even more startling
was the red crayoned letters nearby, not as we expected some youth's
name in red felt tip, but definitely a wax crayon and the word,
Is it possible that
the wood panelled saloons of the 'Daniel Adamson' were adapted from
materials initially earmarked for 'Oceanic'? It certainly seems that
this may be the case and would seem a logical step.
No doubt numerous
panels were similarly adapted or used in other ships which were
completed, but seventy years on, how many survive today?
While there may be
numerous artefacts which commemorate 'Titanic' 'Olympic' and later
vessels of the White Star fleet, surely few if any exist from the ship
that 'never was' ?
I believe this is an
important find and it is hoped that we may in time confirm our
suspicions, in the meantime we hope to preserve this small panel so that
others might judge it's authenticity for themselves. The following
photos show a glimpse of how much better the saloon is looking today (please
compare with 2004 photos) note particularly how well the
stairway panels have survived.
I have taken the
liberty of including a view of what the proposed 'Oceanic III' may have
looked like, had she been completed. The view is reproduced with
acknowledgements to Mr James R Wang and his excellent website to be
visit to which is highly recommended.