A Titanic Model
In the Drawing Office of Titanic Hotel Belfast a large model of RMS Titanic dominates the room.
The Model with Titanic Connections
The twelve and a half foot model was donated to the Maritime Belfast Trust by Dutch company De Klerk Binnenbouw (DKB), and put on display in Titanic Hotel Belfast following the restoration work. Established in 1873, DKB specialise in interiors of yachts, and in 1971 had acquired Mutters & Zoon who were the outfitters of royal yachts and ocean liners, including RMS Olympic & RMS Titanic.
Mutters & Zoon, established in 1816, were one of the most successful furniture factories in The Hague in Holland. They produced 24 luxury cabins on board both RMS Titanic and Olympic, which were decorated in interpretations of period design: Louis XVI, Empire, Queen Anne, and Modern and Old Dutch.
The Titanic model was made by craftsmen and apprentices within Mutters & Zoon, with the keel of the model laid on February 2nd, 1969. The model was finished just over twenty years later, and when DKB acquired Mutters & Zoon in the 1970s, the vast Mutters archive and the model went with the company. Many of the interiors of the model have also been fitted out in miniature, such as the kitchens and staterooms, including a gold chandelier and the grand staircase.
De Klerk Binnenbouw had looked for a new home for the model, and when they heard about the new Titanic Hotel, knew they had found the right place for it. Managing Director Lucas Van Elsen recently visited the model in its new location and shared the history of the model, and presented Maritime Belfast with the original Mutters & Zoon pictorial record of the interiors from 1911 on board Olympic & Titanic.
Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Maritime Belfast, was delighted to receive the donation of the model, saying “we have put a number of artefacts on display in the hotel, and were pleased to be able to work with De Klerk Binnenbouw to find the perfect home for the model in Drawing Office 2, giving the local community and visitors from around the world a genuine link to our shipbuilding history.”
Managing Director of De Klerk Binnenbouw, Mr Van Elsen said: “With our histories intertwined, we couldn’t think of a better place for the model. We were very happy to donate it to the Titanic Foundation.”
Mutters & Zoon had worked on the interiors of Harland & Wolff built ships since 1896, when they first outfitted the steamship Rotterdam for the Holland-America-Line in Belfast. When completing the work on Titanic around 500-600 men would have worked on the interiors and furniture in the factory in The Hague, making the panels ‘outsize’ so that when they were delivered to Belfast they could be cut to fit each cabin perfectly. Two hundred & fifty of the specialist workmen would have travelled to Belfast to complete the cabins, bringing tools with them, but sharing machinery with H&W craftsmen in the shipyard. Mutters & Zoon also supplied furniture for the reception area, the palm-court, the smoking lounge and the private deck of the Titanic.
On May 31, 1911, the company’s owner Herman Pieter Mutters was present in Belfast to see the Titanic, the largest passenger ship in the world at that time, launched.