RMS Majestic (1889)

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SS Majestic (1890).jpg
 United Kingdom
Name: RMS Majestic
Owner: White Star flaga.svg White Star Line
Operator: White Star Line
Port of registry: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 209
Launched: 29 June 1889
Completed: 22 March 1890
Maiden voyage: 2 April 1890
Fate: Scrapped; commenced 5 May 1914
General characteristics
Class and type: Teutonic class ocean liner
Tonnage: 9,965 gross tons
Length: 582 feet (177.8 m)
Beam: 57.7 feet (17.6 m)
Propulsion: Two triple expansion engines powering two propellers.
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (design service speed)
  • 1,490 Passengers:
  • 300 First Class
  • 190 Second Class
  • 1,000 Third Class

RMS Majestic was a steamship built in 1890 for and operated by the White Star Line.


Constructed by Harland and Wolff, Majestic was launched on 29 June 1889. The ship spent the next nine months being fitted out for delivery to White Star in March, 1890. White Star had sought to fund the construction of both Majestic and Teutonic. Through the British government, a proposal which was accepted, with the stipulation that the Royal Navy would have access to the two liners in a time of war.

On 2 April 1890, Majestic left on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York City. There was a strong desire in the White Star management to regain the coveted Blue Riband, the award for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. The maiden voyage did not produce a time good enough to win the Blue Riband away from City of Paris, but on a west-bound voyage between 30 July and 5 August 1891, she achieved that goal, with an average speed of 20.1 knots. Unfortunately, Majestic held the honour for a mere two weeks, as Teutonic completed a crossing on 19 August with a speed of 20.35 knots however, City of Paris regained the Blue Riband a year later.

In 1895, Majestic was assigned Captain Edward Smith, later notable as the captain of Titanic. Smith served as Majestic's captain for nine years. When the Boer War started in 1899, Smith and Majestic were called upon to transport troops to Cape Colony. Two trips were made to South Africa, one in December 1899 and one in February 1900, both without incident. Another Titanic shipmate served under Smith aboard the Majestic; Charles Lightoller served as a deck officer for Smith and was later the most senior officer of the Titanic to survive the sinking.

Postcard of Majestic, after her 1902 refit

In 1902–1903, the ship underwent a refit, which included new boilers and taller twin funnels, after which she returned to the Liverpool-New York run. Smith left as captain in 1904 to take on the new Baltic, then the largest ship in the world. In 1905, Majestic suffered a fire in her bunker, but the damage was not significant. In 1907, White Star's main terminal was moved from Liverpool to Southampton and, on 26 June, Majestic sailed from these new facilities for the first time.

When the Olympic entered service in 1911, Teutonic was removed from the New York run and put on Canadian service with the Dominion Line. Likewise when Titanic came on the scene in 1912, Majestic was retired from White Star's New York service and designated as a reserve ship, biding her time at Birkenhead's Bidston Dock. When Titanic met her fate in April, 1912, Majestic was returned into service, filling the hole in the transatlantic schedule.

On 17 October 1913, she came to the rescue of the French schooner Garonne, which had wrecked. 14 January 1914 saw Majestic leave for her last Atlantic crossing. Soon after, she was sold for £26,700 for scrap to the Thos W Ward yard at Morecambe. Before scrapping of the ship commenced the scrapping company opened the ship for public tours, and some of the interior panelling was saved and used in the offices of the Ward company.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
City of Paris
Holder of the Blue Riband (Westbound)
Succeeded by


External links[edit]