cinemafan2 (cinemafan2) wrote,

The second class library and writing room today.

                                          May 18, 2011
                                         last updated June 26, 2011

The cost to the historic Queen Mary of using the upper deck lounges as multi-purpose catering and banqueting venues can be seen here in the second class library and its adjacent writing room. 

This is what the writing room looked like when the Queen Mary was in service.  The adjacent library can be just glimpsed in the alcove at the right in this photo.


This is what the adjacent library looked like on Sunday, May 15, 2011.  This room was requisitioned for table and chair storage.  No attempt to protect the bookcases and paneling is even attempted.   The writing room area that was adjacent to the library is in even worse condition.  It is used as a pantry for banqueting.

A view of the library proper looking from the entrance on the starboard end of the room that was created in the Long Beach conversion -- where the Catholic altar was once located -- towards the portside end of the room that was also enclosed in the Long Beach conversion.  The writing room area was originally located beyond the door seen in this photo. 

The opposite view -- looking from the portside towards the starboard end of the library as it exists today, photographed June 24, 2011.  The bookshelves that were on the left in the photo, have been removed to facilitate use of the space as a chair storage space for the Britannia Room.   The Catholic altar was located where the door seen in this photo is found today.

The same view, somewhat foreshortened, showing the installation of the custom cabinets.  Note Kenneth D. Shoesmith's "Madonna of the Tall Ships" in situ.  This elegant painting served as the reredos for the Catholic altar, one of two on the Queen Mary.   A full color photo of this painting in color is seen below.


Note the gang grafitti on the upper panel of the existing aft side bookcases.

On the forward wall the bookcases have been entirely removed for more convenient chair storage.


I also had a chance to visit the site of the adjoining second class writing room as well.  It is partitioned off from the library spaces and serves as a corridor between the hotel rooms on "M" deck and the "Britannia Salon" while the remainder serves as a pantry for the "Britannia Salon".

             Walking aft.  The library space is on the left, the pantry is behind the wall on the right.
Looking forward, the entrance to the pantry.  This pantry was partitioned off by the RMS Foundation that suppossedly operated a tax exempt 501C3 for the preservation of the Queen Mary.
                                                                   Inside the pantry.



                                    The catering warming ovens in the former second class writing room.

                          The scullery area created in the port side enclosed promenade on M Deck.

           Another view of the scullery area created in the port side enclosed promenade on M Deck.

              The windows on the inboard wall of the enclosed promenade now used as a scullery.

(left) Looking forward, the library space is blocked off on the far right, the pantry entrance is on the near left.  (right)
The writing room and library space as seen in 1949.

It is interestesting and sad to speculate at the rationale for this destructive use of these once beautiful facilities.  Banqueting is located in the upper deck lounges because of a decision made by D. Tallichet, the opening master lessee in the early 1970's.  He told me a few years ago that he was unwilling to expend the money necessary to complete the work on the second and third class dining rooms on R deck.  He said  "...and the upper deck kitchens were already completed -- so I could start banqueting services without spending another nickel."   

It is maintained there because of habit but also perhaps because of a belief that concentrating banqueting on the upper decks brings people up there for other uses as well - visiting the shops, bars and restaurants.  And so the destruction of the historic Queen Mary continues because of unfounded assumptions, a lack of operational vision, the indifference of the owner, the City of Long Beach, and an almost complete lack of grasp of the Queen Mary as designed and built.

Consider the alternatives.  See here in an article I wrote for the Alternative Visions web site some time ago: 


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