Edward John Smith

Date of birth: 27 January 1850
Place of birth: Hanley, Staffordshire, England
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Sarah Eleanor Pennington
Children: Helen Melville Smith (1898–1973)
Address: Woodhead, Winn Road, Portswood Southampton Hampshire England
Crew position: Titanic's Captain
Date of death: 15 April, 1912
Cause of death: Unconfirmed; body never recovered

Captain Smith's Titanic Furniture

In the city of Belfast there are two items of furniture allegedy designed for installation in Captain Smith's quarters - a large table and sideboard. However, there is presently no way of verifying whether they were actually intended for Titanic.


Visitors to Belfast City Hall will be greeted with a sideboard that is claimed to have been destined for Captain Smith's quarters. As it is on loan from Harland & Wolff its origin is perhaps not in doubt - but its destination has not been independently verified. A sign accompanying the display reads:

This sideboard manufactured at Harland & Wolff was destined for the Captain's quarters on RMS Titanic, but for some reason this piece never made it to the ship. After touring the City as a fine example of the workmanship of the Belfast yard at the time, it is now on long term loan to Belfast City Hall.

The Harland and Wolff sideboard, in the Belfast City Hall.
(Credit: Flicker/Snapshooter46)

The sideboard photographed in Belfast City Hall in October 2017.
(Credit: Matthew Snoad)

A close up of the accompanying sign, which claims that it was "destined fr the Captain's quarters". (Credit: Matthew Snoad)

An older sign placed on the sideboard showed it was on loan from Harland and Wolff.. (Credit: Ivar Brands/Matthew Snoad)


The "Titanic table" which is claimed to have been intended for Captain Smith's quarters is presently situated in the Belfast Harbour Office.

The Harland and Wolff sideboard, in the Belfast City Hall.
(Credit: Tripadvisor/Hanni_LR43)

Circa 1911/1912, this group of furniture was commissioned for the White Star Liner R.M.S. Titanic for use in the private quarters of the Captain and Master, Captain Edward Smith.

It was intended that these pieces would be finished and installed in time for the vessel’s maiden voyage, departing from Southampton on Wednesday, April 10th, 1912. Unfortunately, at the time, the furniture was not quite ready and the ship left for Southampton, bound for Cherbourg, Cork and then New York, without these items on board. In a matter of days the furniture became available and was in storage to await the first homecoming of the Titanic later that month. In the aftermath of the tragic sinking of Titanic, the furniture was no longer considered of any relevance and lay in storage – forgotten and undisturbed – for many years until it was eventually retrieved by its owners, Harland & Wolff. It is only a consequence of the slightly late delivery that these items did not go to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in Titanic, rendering their survival most remarkable and poignant.

The sideboard designed for Captain Smith’s cabin is currently on display by Belfast City Council in the newly refurbished City Hall. In 2009, the table was a centrepiece of the Antiques Roadshow visit to the Titanic Quarter development within the old Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices. The expert valuer from the programme found the craftsmanship of the table to be quite unremarkable; however, the story of Titanic and the mythology surrounding the ship across the globe meant that a value couldn’t be placed on the table.
(The Harbour Office - A Visual Guide)

The Harland and Wolff sideboard, in the Belfast City Hall.
(Credit: Tripadvisor/Hanni_LR43)

How the Captain's table escaped a watery grave

Visitors to the grand 1895 HQ of the Harbour Commissioners in Corporation Square, Belfast, can view an Edwardian mahogany table and Queen Anne style chairs that should by rights be at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Designed by cabinetmaker Gilbert Logan at Harland & Wolff’s workshop, they were intended for the private quarters of the Titanic’s captain, Edward John Smith. However, because of a late delivery, they never reached their destination.

The table would have been fixed to a base to prevent movement at sea but, in the event, the only calamity to befall these fine pieces was to languish unloved in a store cupboard before finding a good home.

The Antiques Roadshow found them literally priceless, because of their history, and didn't give them a cash valuation on their visit to the Titanic Quarter in 2009.

("Titanic: How the Captain's table escaped a watery grave" - Belfast Telegraph, March 24 2012)