The Tourist (Second) Class Swimming Pool and Gymnasium

The second class (called tourist class before World War II and cabin class after World War II) swimming pool was located at the back of the ship just aft of the second class main staircase and elevators on what was originally called F deck (and after 1948 called E deck). This pool has been featured in major books on the history of art deco architecture. It was significantly more impressive than the first class pool on the original Queen Elizabeth or the indoor pool on today's QE2.

Left - The Pool looking aft and starboard.
Right - The location of the pool in a cutaway view of the ship produced for promotional brochures

Per the Shipbuilder:

Pool Plan"A magnificent swimming bath is available for the use of tourist class passengers, the bath and its surroundings having been decorated in a scheme where cream predominates, while the beauty of the setting is much enhanced by the introduction of architectural columns. The hall, which is served by two passenger elevators measures 47 ft. by 40 ft.; while the plunge itself is 33 ft. by 21 ft., [only slightly smaller than the first class pool whose basin was 35 ft by 22 ft.] the depth varying from 6 ft. 6 in. at one end to 4 ft. 6 in. at the other.

The bath itself is lined glazed fireclay tiling, ivory in colour, and intersected with blue bands of the same material, a scum trough and cuspidors being arranged at about the level of the water surface. the paving of the bather's deck is carried out in 6 in. by 6 in. non-slip tessellated tiling in a very pleasing colour, the nosing tile at the edge of the bath being a special fireclay, grooved to give a non-slip surface.

A design in buff mosaic is incorporated with the paving , while the margins adjacent to the walls are in black terrazzo coved to a height of 6 in. to form a skirting.

The walls themselves are faced in cream and mother-of-pearl terrazzo in slabs framed in silveroid. The columns are faced with slabs of blue smaltino, again with silveroid frames....

Colored Drawing
This artist's impression of the pool gives some idea of its coloring. Here, the view is forward.

The lighting comprises two continuous lengths of cornice illumination supplemented by 10 circular bowl lights. A feature of the bath is provided by decorative glass panels at the ends.

The dressing boxes - 10 for gentlemen and 12 for ladies - are arranged on the port side, each set of cubicles having a cold shower.

The screen between the foot of the main stairway and the bath contain three decorative glazed panels to the design of Mr. C. Cameron Baillie."

The tourist class gymnasium was located at the starboard side of the pool on F deck (current E deck). Its dimensions were 39 ft long by 20 feet wide, making it actually slightly larger (by 3 ft. in length ) than the first class gymnasium on Sun deck.

The Tourist Class Gymnasium looking aft.

The walls were paneled in oak veneer and the floor was covered with the same large tiled design of black and white marbled pattern Korkoid that was used in the first class gymnasium. Per the Shipbuilder, the equipment included:

        2 hydraulic rowing machines,
        1 four hammer percussion machine,
        2 belt vibrating machines;
        1 double-cycle racing machine,
        1 punch ball and drum,
        1 camel riding machine,
        2 horse riding machines,
        1 vibrating chairs
        2 sets of "regulation" wall bars,
        1 pulley-weight machine

        And "all of the other usual apparatus."

History of Use

1936 - 1967 - This swimming pool and gymnasium were used throughout the sea life of the Queen Mary as the second class pool and gymnasium.

1968 to present - The second class pool and adjacent gymnasium were gutted in the Long Beach conversion. The F deck (now called E deck) area where the pool and gymnasium were located are now part of the lower deck exhibit area and public toilet area of the Queen Mary museum. (The area immediately behind the pool area is now the "Royal Theater" where the introductory film to the "Titanic" exhibit is shown.) Parts of the pool area are known as the "F Deck offices" today.

pool tank
The F Deck Offices today. This view (taken from the "Frame 70" elevator) is looking directly at where the pool's tank was. The pool was accessed on the deck above. On the ceiling in this area, you can see parts of the outline of the pool's tank where it was cut away (though not in this picture).

Potential for future restoration and re-use


The aft swimming pool as it might look reconstructed for hotel guest and Club Queen Mary member use. Rendering by Jeff Taylor.

Rendering of of the aft gymnasium reconstructed for hotel guest and Club Queen Mary member use by Jeff Taylor. The paneling, ceiling and floors are full restorations while the exercise equipment is largely contemporary with a few original pieces restored.

While most accept the loss of this beautiful pool and gymnasium as final, we think otherwise. Their location on the lower decks at the back of the ship, (i.e., off the guided tour routes) places them in the perfect situation to serve the private needs of the ship's hotel guests.

  1. Current curatorial thinking for historic sites put museum displays and information center features adjcent to but not intruding on the historic structure itself. The logic is that you come to see the historic site as close as possible to its original condition -- not to see displays about the historic site. If management of the Queen Mary instituted this approach, the museum and visitors information center would not be on the ship. This change in presentation philosophy would free up the area that housed the second class pool and gymnasium for reconstruction.
  2. Reconstruction of the pool and gymnasium might not be as difficult a job as it might at first appear to be. The boundaries of the basin are still visible at the ceiling level on current "F" deck and there is no reason to believe that the structures that supported the basin's weight when filled with water were ever removed. So the structural work required to rebuild the pool might be not be great.

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A proposed reconstruction of the second class indoor pool.

We've adjusted the original design to meet modern safety standards. Can you tell what changes we've made?

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Compare this photo of the Titanic's first class pool with the photo on the left above .

The Queen Mary's second class pool easily outclassed this.

  1. The design of the pool is fully documented and elements of its decor survive. Two of the three Cameron Baillie etched glass panels of fish are currently on display on Promenade deck in the "Art of the Queen Mary" exhibit on Promenade deck.

    Two of the Cameron Baillie lit glass panels survive today, and are on display on board the ship - another lies smashed in a pile of other glass from the ship - one of the many items in storage on the lower decks, removed and damaged during the ship's Long Beach conversion.

  2. If both elevators around the second class main staircase were put back in service and the staircase again extended down again to current E deck, the pool and gymnasium would conveniently accessible to hotel guests. If this recommendation were combined with that of restoring the second class lounge, (now called "The Britannia Room"), the adjacent second class library and writing room as well as the second class smoking room on Promenade deck, (all adjacent to the second class grand staircase and elevators), then hotel guests would have a "ship within the ship" -- a magnificent private world undisturbed by the intrusion of daytime tourists.

    Since a wharf-side entrance already exists for the current museum, it might also be used as an entrance by "Queen Mary Club" members to use in boarding the ship to enjoy the benefits of the elegant reserved lounge, dining room and athletic facilities in this very private part of the ship.

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