The Gymnasium was just aft of the forward Grand Staircase along the Starboard side of the Boat Deck. It was described as a wonderful innovation for an ocean-going liner. It was a brightly lit room with white-painted oak paneling and tile floors. Along the wall opposite the entrance was a carved oak installation with an illustrated cutaway of an Olympic-class ocean liner and a map depicting the travel routes of the White Star Line throughout the world. The room was equipped with state-of-the-art exercise equipment manufactured in Wiesbaden, including two electric camels, an electric horse, a rowing machine, punching bag, a weightlifting machine and mechanical bicycles.
Tickets, priced at one shilling ($0.25 USD), were available from the purser and entitled First Class passengers to one session in this facility. There was a permanent "Physical Educator" on staff named T.W. McCawley, physical educator for the White Star Line, who assisted passengers in using the devices.
The gymnasium was open during the following hours and, like other recreational facilities aboard the Titanic, segregated by gender and age:
- 9:00 am – 12:00 pm for Ladies Only
- 1:00–3:00 pm for Children Only
- 2:00–6:00 pm for Gentlemen Only
One of the most popular attractions was the electric camel, an exercise riding machine that mimicked the gait of a camel.
When the ship was sinking, the Gymnasium was engulfed with First Class passengers while they waited for permission to board the lifeboats. John Jacob Astor took a life-jacket and cut it open to show his wife it was filled with cork. On the fateful night of 14/15 April 1912, McCawley remained at his post in the gymnasium and went down with the ship.
Titanic didn't have a second class counterpart for the gymnasium, unlike her sister ship Britannic. Britannic's 2nd class gym was in the aft well deck area
Some of the equipment is still in place on the wreck. The window frames to the boat deck are broken out and gone. The walls were bent as the #2 funnel fell to starboard, over the roof of the gym. The remains of all of this have since sunken into A-deck below. The roof of the deck house which enclosed the Gymnasium has long since collapsed and the room itself is sinking into the deck below. Nonetheless the wood paneling that lined the walls is recognizable and so are some of the exercise machines.