The Queen Mary has been many different things to many different people over her 81 year lifespan. She was created as a symbol of great enterprise in the 1930’s. She was sign of hope and recovery in the Great Depression. She was a tireless hero in the pursuit of peace in the Second World War. Today she is an icon and tribute to all the above.
These days among her many other roles the Queen Mary is a teacher. Urban Commons recognizes this important impact of the historic vessel and has allowed a first class education program to be developed and offered to local schools. A new classroom has been opened in the stern of the ship in an area that was created during the 1968-71 conversion in Long Beach. In the sea-going days this space was a catacomb of small crew and Cabin Class accommodation unmarketable by today’s standards. Urban Commons undertook the renovation of this space to create a bright open area reaching through two decks with a mezzanine overlooking the main gallery where the students gather. The very bones and skin of the vessel makeup the walls of the room, and the dramatic cruiser stern is remarkably beautiful from an interior angle. The room is brightly lit and natural light also comes in from the portholes. New carpet, paint, the latest in audio visual equipment and high quality tables complete the job. Here a course is taught on the ‘Transfer of Energy’ using the ship as the subject. A wonderful “Ellis Island “experience is offered as well. Educational films about the Queen Mary are also shown in the adjacent 4-D theater.
The education program and classroom are simply another way that we are preparing the Queen Mary to ‘sail on’ into the 21st Century. The Queen Mary Heritage Foundation is pleased to be a part of this endeavor along with The Long Beach Unified School District.
Long Live the Queen!
We were live with Commodore Everette & Adam from Urban Commons who answered your questions and gave you an inside exclusive on Sir Winston's!
The Queen Mary’s Verandah Grill was quite simply the most famous and exclusive restaurant and night club at sea back in the glory days of the ship’s Cunard service. Designed by Doris Zinkeisen, the theme of this prestigious space is ‘Entertainment’ and is reflected in all her paintings, cut glass, and metal designs. A rich black carpet was called for to highlight ladies’ evening gowns and men’s tuxedos. The A-listers of the day would vie for a table here! The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Clark Gable, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and even Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother have all called this hallowed haunt their own. After dinner, this room became the Starlight Roof Club, and dancing would go on ‘til the Atlantic dawn!
This space was enlarged during the original conversion in Long Beach to increase the occupancy. Ceiling tiles were used that were uncharacteristic with the rest of the room. These have all been removed and replaced with a period-appropriate ceiling. Also, great care has been taken in the removal, replacement and resealing of the windows. The curved doors leading to the open deck have also been restored. All art, metal, and glass have been carefully protected. A new black carpet will be installed. The superstructure has been thoroughly scaled and will be repainted in high quality marine grade paint.
Long live the Queen!
As completed in 1936 this area located above the famed Verandah Grill was an open deck that allowed a great, but windy view over the ship’s stern. In an early pre-war refit this bit of superstructure was added to give the engineering officers better accommodations with light and air which their engine and boiler rooms below couldn’t offer them. After her retirement from sea service this lofty expanse was turned into Sir Winston’s.
Upon completion this Spring, much quality attention and detail will have been paid to this part of the Queen Mary. This includes steel work on the upper top of deck housing, high quality marine paint, a modern 21st century heating and air conditioning plant, a beautiful new streamline period appropriate ceiling, a thorough polishing of the mahogany paneling and many new galley upgrades. Furthermore, the original fittings such as the lighting fixtures on the walls repurposed to Sir Winston’s when it was first opened as well as the African cherry wood Steinway, have been retained!
Originally known as the Third Class Smoking Room located on “A” Deck Forward, this space was converted by Long Beach City to an exhibit space during the 1970’s. In 2016, this room hosted Passion for Painting: The Art of Winston Churchill Exhibition.
While renovations were underway, the original wood walls (seen here) and seating areas were discovered, restored, and displayed!
In preparation for a new 2017 exhibit, this area has undergone wood veneer restoration and the installation of an original light fixture (also, seen here). A necessary ceiling repair was added to the scope and water leaks from the deck above were identified and repaired to protect the wood veneers.
Take a look back at some of our many recently completed projects.
Located within the Long Gallery, the Midship’s Bar was added in the early 1960’s. Known then as the Midship’s Bar and Lounge, the cocktail bar was located port side in the center portion of the Long Gallery. As part of the new cocktail bar design, the painting "The Mills Circus" by Dame Laura Knight was relocated from a private dining room on R Deck to the Midships’ Bar rear wall. The original Midship’s Bar’s green curved counter featured a decorative motif of Greek keys. This forward portion of the Long Galley has operated as a food and beverage outlet since the early 1970’s.
This new space - Midship Marketplace - has been themed to honor the Midship’s Bar by incorporating colors and related design themes and use of the Greek key pattern both in the floor tile and in the new counter. Working with recommendations from an art conservator, the painting "the Mills Circus" has been proudly installed behind the counter in celebrating the design theme of the original Midship's Bar. Additionally, the original decorative etched glass divider has been reinstalled and the original wall clock restored. The original painting "Sussex Landscape" by Bertram Nicholls remains a prominent feature at the forward end of the Midship Marketplace. Also, the original ceiling light fixtures remain. Future rehabilitation plans for this area include the reproduction and installation of the wall sconces.
The new Queen Mary Hotel Gym design was inspired from the original First Class Gym located on Sun Deck. The original gym flooring was Korkroid similar to linoleum, designed in large marbleized squares of black and white in a checker-board pattern. The walls were made of multiple veneers, which were in different shades allowing a wonderful dark to light horizontal shading appearance to the walls.
To accomplish the original design theme, the new gym will have black and white linoleum squares with the same marble pattern as the original. The walls are painted three horizontal graduated color shades to honor the same design theme of the original wood veneers. Historic photographs of the original gyms aboard will hang in our new gym as well.
Additionally, two new exhibit rooms will be visible from the stairway landing at the entry to the gym. These rooms will contain original gym equipment along with a vintage photographs and interpretive boards allowing. These exhibit spaces will allow guests to view the archives and lean more about guests exercised and stayed healthy while aboard during crossings!
Recently completed phase II Observation Bar Restoration program includes the restoration and installation of the original ceiling fixtures (etched light glass), the reproduction and installation of the original Back Bar Door, the repair of the original red and green lantern back bar light fixtures, the painting of the interior columns, the repair and cleaning of the clocks and the reproduction of the seven original bar stools. The unique round "eye-ball" ceiling light fixtures are under restoration for installation as well. Flooring options are also under evaluation. Soon, the original employee back-bar door will be reinstalled, lighting contained in the recessed cornice will be installed, and refinishing of the four pylons will be completed.