Olympic Titanic Britannic: An Illustrated History of the ‘Olympic’ Class Ships

Olympic Titanic Britannic: An Illustrated History of the ‘Olympic’ Class Ships

Olympic Titanic Britannic Illustrated History book cover

‘One of the must-haves of 2012…This excellent book is more than just a picture history…Profusely illustrated…This book is certainly one of the good ones…Great read with plenty of stunning photographs and illustrations to bring the story to life…Mark Chirnside has delivered a wonderfully interesting and beautiful book, a must have…This book is beautiful and full of information…I definitely recommend it ’


Chirnside, Mark. Olympic Titanic Britannic: An Illustrated History of the ‘Olympic’ Class Ships. The History Press; January 31st 2012. 168 pages. (Hardback)
Reprinted: March 2012.
Chirnside, Mark. Olympic Titanic Britannic: An Illustrated History of the ‘Olympic’ Class Ships. The History Press; April 2014. 168 pages. (Paperback)
Reprinted: 2017, 2019.

Click here to read a selection of reviews.



At the beginning of the twentieth century, competition between the North Atlantic shipping lines was fierce. While Britain responded to the commercial threat posed by the growing German merchant marine, there was also rivalry between the great Cunard Line and its chief competitor, the White Star Line. Against this backdrop Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were conceived. Designed for passenger comfort, they were intended to provide luxurious surroundings and safe, reliable service rather than record-breaking speed. In the end, fate decreed that only Olympic would ever complete a single commercial voyage and she went on to serve for a quarter of a century in peace and war. Titanic’s name would become infamous after she sank on her maiden voyage. The third sister, Britannic, saw a brief and commendable career as a hospital ship during the First World War, sinking in the Aegean Sea in 1916.

Here Mark Chirnside tells the sister ships’ stories by way of previously unseen pictures, passenger diaries and deck plans. With a focus on the human histories of those who travelled and worked on the ships, this beautifully illustrated book details Olympic’s successful career and the premature ends of her two unfortunate sisters.

To purchase a signed copy securely, please follow these instructions:

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Note: If your country or destination is not listed, please contact Mark without obligation so he can obtain an estimate of postage; or if there are any other queries at all. He will endeavour to respond promptly to all enquiries.

Book price: £25 plus postage. (Please note you will receive the most recent paperback edition first published in April 2014.)


‘Mark Chirnside is now widely recognised for his thorough, in-depth and highly researched books on the great Atlantic liners. His latest offering is, basically, an illustrated companion to his current book The ‘Olympic’ Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic, Britannic. Although profusely illustrated and covering the sisters, Titanic is featured, but only in brief with the more concentration on her two sisters and the author does highlight this at the very start of the book. The book in general is a wonderful voyage through the history of the ‘Olympic’ class liners, from their birth to end of career. The book features a generous amount of previously unpublished images and with the captions continuing the story, the book not only flows nicely with its layout, but is a pleasure to read and admire the black & white and colour images.’ – Jonathan Smith. March 5th 2012. Amazon.co.uk

‘Mark Chirnside has written a beautifully illustrated history for WSL’s big three. The text is full of wonderful anecdotes and new facts which will keep the reader interested from the first page to the last. Definitely a valuable addition to any ship enthusiast and researcher’s library.’ – Michael Poirier. March 12th 2012. Amazon.co.uk

‘This book is yet another winner from Mark Chirnside. The high quality of this volume is what we’ve come to expect from this author. The images in the book are of high quality, as is the text. While the book touches on all three ‘Olympic’ class ships, it is nice to see a lot of time spent on the Olympic and Britannic, which are often overlooked or given short shrift when compared to their more famous sister Titanic. I highly recommend this volume, and consider it one of the must-haves of 2012.’ – Tad Fitch. April 1st 2012. Amazon.co.uk

‘Titanic was not a unique ship. She had in fact two sister ships, Olympic and Britannic. This fine books puts the Titanic into proper context by detailing the history of all three ships. “Titanic Buffs” will be pleased by a number of never before published illustrations. Newcomers to the subject will be fascinated to learn of the history of this nautical tri..’ – Conrad. May 3rd 2012. Amazon.com

‘This excellent book is more than just a picture history of the ‘Olympic’ Class liners. As is usual for Mark Chirnside, he brings his considerable research skills to bare & provides new info on this famous trio. Olympic, Titanic & Britannic are also placed in their proper historical context without the frequent hyperbole related to Titanic that so many other authors fall prey to. Highly recommended.’ – Brent Holt. June 19th 2012. Amazon.com

‘I read a statistic that said that the Titanic was one of the three most written about subjects in history, and browsing through the available books on Amazon and other sites certainly gives credence to that. I would imagine that like many much-written subjects the number of GOOD books is merely a fraction of that number, but this book is certainly one of the good ones. Richly illustrated with accurate captioning it certainly opens up my understanding of the ‘Olympic’ Class liners and is a valuable addition to my growing library on the subject. The ONLY way it could be better would be if I could buy a copy to read on my Kindle.’ – Anthony Densley. June 21st 2012. Amazon.com

‘Great read with plenty of stunning photographs and illustrations to bring the story to life. There is an abundance of facts and figures about these White Star Line ships, more than enough to satisfy any “techies” or simply provide interesting information for the more casual reader.’ – Caz. January 18th 2013. Amazon.co.uk

‘I’m currently working on an original fiction story that in effect can be seen as a sort of Biography of the RMS Olympic, and as I was already more than familiar with the story of Titanic, I needed info on the Lead Ship herself. Mister Chirnside not only supplies, but supplies in abundance of interesting and exhaustive information from the start of construction in 1908 to Olympic’s scrapping in 1935.
‘In fiction there is the concept of the “Hero of Another Story”, where a side character is alluded to have adventures just as interesting as (if not more so than) the Protagonist’s, and for decades Olympic has been such a figure in the Titanic story, a glorified footnote if she is mentioned at all. At long last, we can finally know Olympic’s story.’ – Joel Hassell. January 28th 2013. Amazon.com

‘For all those “rivet counters” out there, if you think we’ve seen every photo ever taken of Titanic, or even her two sisters, you might want to get this book. Believe it or not, more photographs of these beautiful liners have surfaced, and for the serious collector, the book is worth having for some of these marvelous shots.’ – Jay Holland. February 1st 2013. Amazon.com

‘The photos are even clearer quality than previously published. Some are even in color! This book is beautiful and full of information on the Olympic class ships. I was not disappointed. I definitely recommend it for steamship aficionados. Lots of photos of passengers onboard Olympic; Olympic during war service; inside/outside Britannic and Titanic on the sea floor! Lots of neat white star lines ads too.’ – Laurel Hunt. February 21st 2013. Amazon.com

‘Got this book for my son. It is a true addition to any collector’s library. Filled with many unseen photos. What I like best about this book is that it gives complete histories of all three ships. It focuses less on Titanic than the other books out there.’ – Kindle Customer ‘Mel’. May 15th 2013. Amazon.com

‘This is a great book for anyone interested in the Olympic class of ships. Just full of great pictures of all three sisters, many of which I’ve never seen before. Very happy to add this to my collection of Titanic books!’ – Dave Beksha. June 5th 2013. Amazon.com

‘It’s always nice to find a picture of Titanic or her sisters that you’ve never seen before. So it must be nothing short of amazing to find a book full of photographs and info the average person hasn’t see before. Mark Chirnside has delivered a wonderfully interesting and beautiful book, a must have for any Titanic or ocean liner enthusiast.’ – Jonathan Martin. July 9th 2013. Amazon.com

‘I bought this book for my 6 year who is obsessed with the history of the Titanic. I know this book is not designed for young children but it captured his imagination and taught him so much about more about Titanic and he learnt about her sister ships. This book has become part of our bedtime reading.’ – M. C. Barnard. August 5th 2013. Amazon.co.uk

‘Very nearly sized for the coffee table and lavishly illustrated with photographs, drawings and graphics covering construction, features and the working lives of the ships. Posters and other materials by which the voyages were sold are also included.

A valuable history of what were to be the last three ships ordered by the once great White Star Line. The loss of the supposedly unsinkable Titanic and approximately two-thirds of its passengers and crew, and the resulting criticisms levied at the company caused many of the line’s potential passengers to cancel bookings and seek passage on other lines’ ships… A second ship from the class, Britannic, was later lost during WW1 to a mine and only Olympic had a usefully long working life into the 30s.

This book is a biography of the three vessels and the company itself. Although the Titanic is by far the most familiar of the company’s ships, if not the best-known of all twentieth Century ocean liners, the author does not over-concentrate on that vessel alone but has tried to be equally fair to all three.

Much of the story of the ships, their features and designs and the facilities on offer – they were originally intended to be identical, but design changes were made in the light of experience – is included.

For anyone with any interest in the Titanic or its sister ships, White Star or ocean-going liners in general may find much that is useful and interesting in this book.’ – AJS (London), 6 May 2014. Amazon.co.uk
‘My friend’s grandfather worked on the Olympic, and has never really found out much about him or the station he worked at, just knew him to be an engineer on board. So after seeing this book online I sent him this book just to give him something to read, but was amazed that he found a photo of his grandfather in one of the photographs. He emailed the author for more information and a possible photograph of his grandfather and the author has responded and gave him further information on his grandfather. You couldn’t of asked for a better outcome. You never know how fate works, but glad he has a book and the information from it.’ – UB40, 15 May 2014. Amazon.co.uk

‘Great book on these ship, well researched.’ – Vicki Calvano, 3 January 2015. Amazon.co.uk

‘Great book.’ – Gerry Godin, 4 February 2016. Amazon.com

‘Considering I have an extensive collection of books on this subject, this one is my favourite. It is well researched and documented. It is accurate in that Mr. Chirnside has made a great effort to clarify nearly all the misinformation that has been perpetuated over and over in other books on this subject as well as providing additional information, both technical and visual, not found in previous books. It is very readable and well thought out. Overall a fine effort and attractively priced considering the content. Highly recommended.’ – Wayne Bokum, 15 March 2016. Amazon.com

‘I commented on this book on another post I believe… but let me reiterate – It’s FANTASTIC! Finally, the three B-decks placed side-by-side for comparison. And full Olympic deck plans! Love this book.’ – Tom Cacciotti, 16 April 2016.

‘Great addition for anyone who collects books on the Titanic and her sister ships!’ C Petit, 13 March 2017. Amazon.com

‘Excellent product and reasonable price!’ Hernán Del Valle, 8 October 2018.

‘Beautiful book. My son has been really interested in these ships and we surprised him with it. He loves it. Great pictures.’
Shannon, 18 July 2020. Amazon.com

‘I’ve been an aficionado of ocean liners and of the White Star liners for many years so this is an excellent addition to my library; professionally, I did marine insurance so this book added to it.’ Chris Beck, 1 February 2021. Amazon.com

‘Good quality book. Son was really happy with this.’ Barry Miller, 5 March 2021. Amazon.co.uk

‘My Grandson (aged 10) has read this book cover to cover and is constantly referring to it. If he’s happy, I’m happy.’ D. J. Lambert, 20 June 2021. Amazon.co.uk

‘Extensive amount of detail and fantastic pictures in this book relating to the Titanic and her sister ships… My Grandson loves it!’ Amazon customer, 27 June 2021. Amazon.co.uk