The Grade II* listed building was built for the Ismay, Imrie and Company shipping company, which later became known as the White Star Line. Following the death of founder Thomas Ismay, his son, J Bruce Ismay, became chairman and managing director of the company, and created some of White Star Line’s most famous ships, including RMS Titanic, whose port of registry was the White Star Line headquarters, which now serves as 30 James Street, a Titanic-themed hotel.
The word ‘Liverpool’ was also visible on RMS Titanic’s stern due to her port of registry, and so the city and the White Star Line headquarters are synonymous with the ill-fated vessel. The White Star Line headquarters was also the place where captain Edward J. Smith, RMS Titanic’s commander, and the vessel’s crew, would have received their orders.
J Bruce Ismay’s office was rumoured to have been in the lowest turret on 30 James Street, and the chairman was aboard RMS Titanic when she collided with an iceberg on 14th April 1912. However, J Bruce Ismay was lucky enough to survive the tragic maritime event, whilst over 1,500 passengers and crew sadly lost their lives that fateful night.
The attic storey caretaker’s rambling flat has also been converted into Liverpool’s first rooftop champagne bar, called the Carpathia Bar and Restaurant, which overlooks The Strand waterfront and offers spectacular views of The Three Graces. It is named after the Liverpool vessel, RMS Carpathia, which rescued all 705 Titanic survivors.
The building now operates as a 64 bedroom luxury Titanic-themed hotel, and is also a popular destination for afternoon tea, conferencing and a luxury spa.