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SPECIALIST auctioneers, Ocean Liner Auctions have been instructed to sell what they consider to be the largest and finest collection of fixtures and fittings from RMS Olympic since the vessel was broken up almost 69 years ago.

It was in 1935, after 24 years of service, that the "floating palace" was deemed too expensive to maintain.

She was purchased from Cunard White Star for £100,000 by Sir John Jarviswho then resold her to Thomas W. Ward Ltd on the understanding that the vessel was to be broken up at Jarrow-on-Tyne in order to relieve the serious unemployment in the North East of England. A 4456-lot auction of her components was conducted by Knight, Frank & Rutley when one of the several hundred eager buyers was Douglas Smith, a partner in the firm of Smith & Walton Ltd, paint manufacturers.

Spending in total around £800 (say £50,000 today) Smith purchased panelling, bathrooms, light fittings, flooring and furniture with which to fit out his company's new factory at Haltwhistle in Northumberland.

The concrete building with a pitched roof received a ceiling created from the carved wood mouldings from Olympic's first class smoking room and four arched oak windows from her gymnasium. The factory's lavatories were originally from the first class B Deck landing.

The ormolu and cut glass light fittings from the first class lift foyers, one pictured right, are among the most iconic survivals and are estimated to bring £1500-2000 each.

Ocean Liner Auctions decamp to the factory at Hadrian Enterprise Park, Haltwhistle this Saturday (September 4) to offer these relics in 400 lots, along with other maritime collectables, in the 700-lot sale.

Contact 01227 371380.