Britannic's interiors:Found at last?
By Russell Wild
A while ago, a few
of us were in the Titanic chat room discussing the whereabouts of Britannic's
interiors. We suggested lots of different theories - they were used for spare
parts on Olympic; they never even existed; they were destroyed during the war;
they went down with the ship after all.
Then, someone came out of the blue and calmly told us that he had stayed in a hotel near Teeside, England, which has some of the Britannic's interiors. I immediately wrote a letter to them asking to confirm this. Here's what they sent.
The Billingham Arms Hotel is a multipurpose establishment situated in Cleveland, near Teeside. It offers not only rooms for staying in, but function and conference rooms, which can accommodate up to 450 people. Ironically, Billingham is situated not too far down the coast from Alnwick - the location of The White Swan Hotel which is famous for owning a large portion of Olympic's interiors.
The Billingham Arms Hotel (courtesy of Russell Wild)
The General Manager of the hotel, Yvonne Kane, sent me a very kind letter and a copy of the hotels leaflet. The main paragraph of interest to us is the following:
"....To enhance the visitors’ leisure time, a range of bars catering for the most discerning tastes are located in the hotel. One such bar, the Ward Room, provides an escape for those who enjoy quiet moments relaxing with a drink. It is dedicated to the S.S Britannic which was the sister ship to the S.S Titanic and built by Harland and Wolff, launched in Belfast in February 1914. She was completed in 1915 and served as a Military Hospital Ship until November 1916 when she was struck by a mine and was sunk with the loss of 21 lives. Due to the war, the carved cedar paneling made for the ship. was never installed and now adorns the walls of the Ward Room...".
Yvonne was kind enough to include some tantalizing photographs of the room in question. Αs Olympic/Titanic's woodwork in this area was different to that in the drawing, they prove almost conclusively that the woodwork in the Billingham Arms Hotel is from Britannic (thanks to Remco Hillen for making this observation).
Many thanks and kindest regards to Mike Cosgreave for bringing this to our attention, Yvonne Kane for responding so enthusiastically to my letter.