|The first class lecture room was a facility available to first class passengers to share their expertise on any number of subjects with their fellow passengers. It might be their travels (with slides), or their academic learning. With a seating capacity of 37, a podium, slide and film projection capability, it was one of the thoughtful, comfortable amenities that distinguished the Queen Mary as a great luxury liner.|
According to Carol Marlow, the president of Cunard Lines, "offering enrichment onboard ocean liner voyages came about organically. Traditionally, Cunard has attracted the world's most well-educated and intrepid passengers. Dating back to the days of the original Queen Mary, several guests, including distinguished notables such as Winston Churchill or Cole Porter, engaged in informal talks to their fellow travelers as a way of entertaining themselves," said Marlow. "Just as the crew would organize deck games, lessons on etiquette and talent shows, guests enjoyed sharing their knowledge and experiences with one another."
The lecture hall was designed to provide cabin (first) class passengers a place in which to share their thoughts with fellow passengers. It is the likely site where an out-of-power author and lecturer named Winston Churchill perhaps tried to persuade fellow passengers of the growing danger of Nazism.
Original appearance of the room, and its location on "Prom" Deck.
Per the Shipbuilder:
"The lecture room opens from the port corridor forward of the hall (the Main Hall). The dado of this room is of compressed cork, and the walls and ceilings are treated with plastic paint having a rough finish. Light-brown Ruboleum, broken into panels by bands of dark brown, covers the floors. The furniture is of steel, the seats and backs being of leather. The grilles to the ventilators and other metal work are in silver bronze. The room, it may be mentioned, has been decorated by Messrs. Hampton."
1936 - 1939 - This room was used as a lecture room as described
above in the pre-war period.
1940 - 1947 - During World War II, this room was converted as part of the ship's troop-carrying operations.
1947 - 1967 - After the postwar refit the room disappears from the published deck plans as a passenger amenity. A full bathroom was added in the adjacent ventilator room space, indicating that it became either crew space or space for vendor staff working aboard the ship.
1968 - to present - Since the Long Beach conversion, the room has served as a retail space. It currently sells tee shirts.
A rendering of a possible reconstruction of the lecture
room, by Jeff Taylor.
If its pre-war use defined the Queen Mary as a thoroughbred among luxury liners, the room's current use defines the Queen Mary as an extremely commercialized tourist venue. Meanwhile, a quaint village built to house common visitor retail sits largely empty on the property.
The interior today in about 2000 - a T-shirt shop.
A recent photo showing the use of this room, circa 2007.
Value For Dollar!
If visitors are asked to pay a $25 boarding fee plus $8 for parking and then an additional $8 for a guided tour once aboard we believe that they have a right to expect to be able to see and use some of the amenities that made the Queen Mary a legend.
And it makes good business sense too. The restoration of the lecture hall and its use as a venue for an opening presentation of the guided tour would be an excellent and inexpensive place to begin true restoration of the Queen Mary.
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