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A tour of Long Beach's Queen Mary in 1979


In this article I am showing a series of photographs that were taken by maritime enthusiast and historian Bob Lenzer when as a very young man he visited the ship in 1979. The photos document the operation as it was then and provide insight into the culture and operational thinking aboard the fabled liner in Long Beach at that time.

                            
   Bob in front of the Unicorn bas relief in the former Main Lounge of the ship. 

In the initial Long Beach conversion this room was designated by Diner's Club, the first primary lessee, to be used as an upscale restaurant. But this plan never materialized. Instead it has been used as a multi-purpose catering banqueting salon ballroom since the heavily converted ship opened in 1971.  


                         
     The Bank of America office in the forward portion of the former Long Gallery.  

Note the glass partition in the right side of the photograph.  This was added to better define the entrance from the Main Lounge in the postwar refit remodeling.   It was removed by the RMS Foundation to create a pantry space for the fast food stall currently leasing this space.


                          
A ladies clothing store located in the aft portion of the Long Gallery. 

Note the pendant painting to that found in the forward portion of the room was removed.  It was re-installed when the room was converted for use as a catering space in the late 1980s.  Note also the cold florescent lighting.  This dress shop was created to generate revenue.  But did it create an authentic Queen Mary experience for visitors ... one that they wanted to repeat?

                                
                                                       The same view in 1936.
 
          
     
                  Another view of the ladies clothing store.


                  


                       



                      
                          The Observation Bar in its first Long Beach incarnation. 

The use of light torches as vases for displaying wax flowers and the saloon style tables and chairs capture the curious local atmosphere.  This elegant former first class bar was, (and is), conceived of as the "casual" bar on the ship in Long Beach.  The wrought iron bar stools can be glimpsed at the right in the photograph.  The original swivel round stools with red leather seats were removed and sold.   Also note that second class dining room chairs were used on the platform in Long Beach through the 1970's, possibly because the enlarged platform required more tables and chairs than it did as built.   


                               
Two views of the enclosed port side promenade.  These photos were taken near where the postwar cafe was installed.

                            

                              





  
       Regent Street - Entrance to Lady Hamilton's Restaurant

                             



                              
The entrance corridor through a portion of the fragmented Long Gallery to Lady Hamilton's - currently the Chelsea Chowder House.


                              

                               


                               The Hotel Lobby and Decks

                   
                                        The hotel lobby area - A deck.

A hotel room in 1979.  The almost colonial styled patterned wallpaper and rather curious upholstery fabrics look to be part of an attempt to make the cabins of the once elegant Queen Mary "cozy", not unlike those found at that time in a Clapham Common "bed and breakfast".

                   


                             

                             

                              
The bathroom looks close to original -- except the nickel fixtures look not to have been polished in a decade.


                                              Main Deck - aft 

                
        
     The Britannia Salon - formerly the Cabin Class Main Lounge

                        
                           
          Above and below - photos of the area that was formerly the second class writing room.

                           

                            
                           
The second class library as it was in 1979.  This room was and is adjacent to the writing room area.

                
       The Capstan Club A deck aft - reserved for hotel guests

                   
              Two views of the Capstan Room which served as a hotel guest only eatery and lounge. 

                            
Note the odd assortment of furnishings.  The facility looks like an afterthought, much like the dining/lounge area of a rather ordinary bed and breakfast establishment.



                    
                The R deck lobby and pool entrance.

                              
The entrance to the former first class swimming pool in the center of the R deck hall.



                                        
The first class pool as shown to the public in 1979.  The pool was not in use for hotel guests after the ship opened in Long Beach.

Note the water in the lower portion of the pool.  Note also how dark the room is.  It was never converted from direct current to alternating current so was only dimly light. A panel from the second class main staircase is used in place of the original glass mosaic mural that lost during the conversion.    

                                                           
(left)  A photograph of the first class swimming pool as it looked in 1936. (right) A Cunard advertisement from 1960 featuring the swimming pool and the work of art on the Queen Mary.

The golden and red glass mosaic art panel at the head of the pool was either destroyed or stolen in Long Beach. The City of Long Beach has never explained its disappearance and the booster local press, which focuses on small pieces of art misplaced by its local museum ad nauseum, has never even questioned the City on its disposition. 


                  The Tourist/Third Class Dining Room

            
The third class dining room, also on R deck, just forward of the swimming pool as seen in 1979 in an assembled panorama provided by Chris Butler.



                          The Queen Mary Story Exhibit on D deck aft.

Rather than showing hotel guests and visitors the real Queen Mary and inviting them to be part of it, they were shown exhibits of objects shorn from their context.

                            

                               

                                

                                 
                                

                                  

An effort to represent the Queen Mary to visitors as a series of exhibits shown out of context. 


                                    
                                   
                    Bob Lenzer overlooking the bow on Sun Deck.



Comments

(Anonymous)

Wow...

Definitly one of the absolute most interesting articles I've ever seen about the QM. It's fascinating to see what these areas looked like immediatly after the initial conversion (and the ex-Overflow Lounge/Beachcombers Club/Capstan Club was COMPLETELY unrecognizable).

I'm really hoping there's more, then again I can never get enough of QM history and photographs. It is interesting to note the deterioration of the 2nd Class Writing Room, it actually looked extremely nice in 1979 (all things considered, of course).

And those fixtures in the OB bar looked HIDEOUS with flowers stuffed in them...

What were they thinking? Or rather, what ARE they thinking?