The Royal Crown Derby archives hold a file of correspondence relating to the Olympic and Titanic orders, the original pattern design and a booklet advertising the Titanic, giving an interesting insight into the fitting out of these iconic ships.
The correspondence is mainly between Royal Crown Derby and the White Star Line's chandler Stonier & Co of Liverpool. The earliest mention of Stonier & Co is a hand written list of 7 pattern samples dated 1st November 1910, which includes the pattern chosen for the Olympic and
Titanic; number 8288. As well as pattern samples, Royal Crown Derby were asked to supply examples with the White Star flag and Oceanic Steam Navigation Company monogram (OSNC). On 3rd January 1911 they were asked to adapt the design to use an old monogram from White Star Line's stationary that was said to be 'more to their liking'. On January 5th the design using the OSNC monogram in green within a green wreath was approved with an added request to stamp 'White Star Line' on the back of the china.
Approval of the pattern and an order came on 17th January in a letter titled 'White Star Steamers "Olympic" and "Titanic"'. Stoniers gave the list of quantities required as 600 Dinner Plates, 150 Soup Plates, 150 Breakfast Plates, 100 Salad Plates, 150 Breakfast Cups & Saucers, 100 Teacups & Saucers, 36 Creams and 25 Slop Basins, with reserve stock required for replacements. However, the order came with a request for a reduction in price.
White Star Line highlighted to Royal Crown Derby that supplying china for their steamers will be a world wide advertisement. Royal Crown Derby sent a bold reply in the form of a telegram saying 'Have fully considered and allowed for advertisement accruing. Regret impossible to concede any abatement in prices, which are rock-bottom.' By 31st January Stoniers are able to send the following reply: 'Our White Star friends have at last made up their minds to confirm order for China Dinnerware and Teaware' requesting delivery in May (this is later changed to the end of April). A repeat order is to follow for the Titanic and will
be required in December (this is later changed to 1st March 1912).
Throughout the letters sent between the Stoniers and Royal Crown Derby there is much discussion about advertising. The impetus for this came from the White Star Line, asking that the Royal Crown Derby embody a reference to the new steamers in any advertising or press notices they produce. They even go so far as to ask that an exhibition of the china be put on in their London showrooms or one of their retail outlets. Royal Crown Derby respond by saying that they cannot do so as their London tradesmen would not exhibit china that was not on general sale. They were, however, happy to produce a booklet at their own cost. White Star Line provided photographs for the booklet which were taken from a drawing of the a'la Carte Restaurant on Olympic along with a picture of the steamer.