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A visit to the former Third/Tourist Class Smoking Room on the Queen Mary today.

                                                             
                                                            July 17, 2011
                                         last updated September 4, 2011

Located on A Deck, directly beneath the Garden Lounge but extending further forward was the third class, (called tourist class after WW2), smoking room.  It too was semi-circular with a width of 80 ft wide but had a depth of 60 ft. Its 22 portholes provided a fine view of the sea on good days and they could be covered with metal shields when the weather was bad.






       
                      Note the marquetry panel of a hunting scene in the back of this photograph.

                             
        The marquetry Hunting Scene is found today in the Starboard Lounge on A deck amidship


The smoking room was paneled in a finely figured light oak arranged in alternating vertical and horizontal bands. Deep recesses contained built in settees complimented by armchairs and small tables. Small tables and chairs for parties of two three, and four completed the furnishings. A large marquetry panel depicting a hunting scene was incorporated into the port-side wall. A dark oak bar decorated with silver-bronze metal and glazed panels enhanced the starboard side of the room. The color scheme as seen in the upholstery and flooring were harmonizing shades of green, beige and brown.





This room was reconfigured in the Long Beach conversion and repurposed as a display room for a variety of exhibits that were repositioned from various and sundry parts of the ship including the three classes of cabins, a display of the fire control center equipment that was moved up from R. Deck and a watertight door that was moved up here from even lower on the ship. 

I visited this space recently looking to see how it is currently used and what remains of its original design.

                
The A Deck forward lobby leading to the former third class smoking room. Note the elevator that served third class from Main Deck to current R Deck, (former C Deck).  Like most elevators on the Queen Mary it was rendered unusable by the conversion from direct to alternating electrical current in Long Beach.  Its was never converted.


                
The port side entrance to the former third class smoking room.  The hotel carpeting in this area is inappropriate.  Re-installing linoleum would highlight the unique identify of the area.  
  

                          
                       The starboard entrance doors to the former third class smoking room.

                 
           A view from inside the doors at the port side entrance.  The doors appear to be original.

                 
One the port side of the smoking room a firestation display that is not "in situ" on the Queen Mary.  The original location was on R deck forward.  Note the 1970's rubber tile.

The movement of features for attraction purposes in the Long Beach conversion created a confusing impression of the ship for visitors.  This underminds the legitimacy of the Queen Mary as a great maritime landmark and may explain its poor performance as an historic attraction.  

 
                
                         Without a guide or labels the out of context exhibits are barely noticed.


                 
Note the rake in the deck going forward.   The same rake probably exists in the Garden Lounge on Main Deck and the two former third class public rooms on B deck forward. 

 

A watertight door relocated to R deck in the Long Beach conversion.  This is well above where it would have been located on the working ship. 

The overall impression this display creates is that of  a hodge podge.  On the Ghost and Legends Tour a small door that is certainly not a real watertight door is called one and is used as the location of the crushing of "half hatch Harry" - further destroying the credibility of the Queen Mary as a legitimate maritime attraction.  The result?  The Queen Mary becomes an object of ridicule rather than of respect -- a self inflicted wound. 

             
                         Original paneling survives in the forward port side of the room.

              
                 Note the weathering to the paneling caused by constant exposure to the elements. 


              
One of three sets of doors to the outer deck added in Long Beach.  The doors on the port side are routinely kept open during attraction hours regardless of the weather conditions.

The sanctuary and its associated, (and apparently now defunct foundation), appears to have been part of the sales and marketing strategy of a former operator. Its placement in the former third class smoking room was a matter of convenience and was coincidental.  A memorial to the wartime service of the Queen Mary might easily be located in another and perhaps more appropriate setting on the Queen Mary. 


               


The decked over hatch # 1 in front of a long closed fast food outlet added in the Long Beach conversion on A deck forward.  The cross walk to the forecastle above and the metal stairs were also added at that time, circa 1970.

               
Again the entrance to the area used as the sanctuary.  The weathering to the fine paneling is due to constant exposure to the elements. Hopefully this problem will be addressed by the implementation of the Conservation Management Plan.

                

                

                
The forward bulkhead of the sanctuary.  It appears that some of the surviving original oak paneling was painted over.


                 
A matched set of chairs from first class on the Queen Mary were reupolstered and pressed into service in the sanctuary.   The wood frames do not appear to have been touched.


                  
           

                   
The main portion of the room.  The white door leads to the elevator designed as a point of egress for the Ghosts and Legends Tour.  

                      
The oak bar was located in the area on the left in this photo.





                                


The central portion of this room was redesigned in the early 2000's as a gift shop for the Ghosts and Legends Tour. Merchandise such as bloody glass eyeballs did not make make it a success and the shop failed.  


                          
                                 The original paneling in front of a hatch remains in situ.

                                               
Note: The upright piano that may have stood in front of the cargo hatch (See the deckplan of the
room as built.) It appears to be the same as that now displayed in the Music Studio on Promenade Deck.


                         
                            Displays currently in the forward end of the former smoking room.

     
Glass panels from the second class swimming pool used as backdrops for the closed gift shop.


                                       A display highlighting the Ghosts and Legends Tour.

                               
Another shot of the exhibits found in thre forward end of this room.  Most have no labels.  Perhaps they were installed as decorative backdrops for the Ghost and Legends gift shop that was once housed here.

                             
Surviving elements of the original paneling on the starboard aft portion of the room where the defunct foundation office was located.  Note the water damage from exposure to the elements.

                              

                              
The bar area in the starboard forward section of the room that was repurposed as part of the Sanctuary of the Immortal Chaplains Foundation office.  It now sits unused with semi-derelict original Queen Mary furniture.

The disposition of the original dark oak bar decorated with silver-bronze metal and glazed panels that enhanced the starboard side of the room is unknown to this author.  

The displays installed here in the 1970's were well done but were shown completely out of context.  This disjointed presentation of the Queen Mary to the public in Long Beach was symptomatic of the way the three parties ran various aspects of the ship.  They didn't meet formally and didn't want any overlap in their respective domains.   The legacy of this confusion remains to this day to plague the operation of the ship.  What may be acceptable for a traveling display of ship artifacts strikes many as inappropriate on the real Queen Mary.  Also of concern is the casual disregard for the original fabric of the Queen Mary that is plainly seen here and the poorly thought out "repurposing" seen throughout the ship. 


Challenges and possibilities for restoration and reuse.

Relocation of displayed objects to their original sites for viewing and use on the Queen Mary.

Advantages of restoration of the smoking room for hospitality use.
  • Large size;
  • Location - outside deck

Disadvantages.
  • Cost;
  • Rake of deck




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