Barber Shops and Beauty Parlor Facilities

The Queen Mary offered distinct hairdressing facilities for each class of passengers as well as a barber shop for crew-members. In the cabin class area, (as first class was called in the pre-war period), there was a separate barber shop and beauty salon. In the other service categories a combined barber shop/beauty salon facility was provided.

Per the "Shipbuilder and Marine Engine Builder."

"These rooms are elaborately equipped with modern apparatus designed to ensure a service in no degree inferior to the best available ashore. Formica paneling [a new and chic building material in 1936] is considerably in evidence in their treatment. As to equipment, the cabin-class gentlemen's saloon has three illuminated showcases framed in walnut, with walnut veneer at the ends, and sliding plate-glass doors and plate-glass shelves. Below, there are four fitted instrument cupboards. Two walnut veneered cabinets each support an electrically heated towel steamer, and two sterilizing cabinets are also provided. The last-named are fitted with electrically heated atomizers and have a glazed flap in front. The ladies section is similarly equipped; but in addition, three electrical Rightheat curling-iron stoves are provided.

The kindred departments for the tourist and third-class passengers follow the same general lines, including Formica paneling.

History of Use

1936-1939 - The hairdressing facilities were used as described above.

1940-1946 - During World War II the ship was converted as a troop carrier.

1947-1967 - In the post-war period the facilities retained their pre-war functions. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were frequent passengers on the ship and used the facilities. The Duke reportedly went to the barber shop for a morning shave and then for a second shave just before dinner.

1968 - present - Initial promotional material for the Queen Mary (1968-69) included the barber shop and beauty parlor facilities as amenities available for future hotel guests use. However at some early point the plans changed and all of the original hairdressing facilities were gutted. A display, now on Sun deck, uses a selection of original artifacts to simulate a section of the first class beauty salon.

Potential for future restoration and re-use

While the exhibit simulating the first class beauty parlour provides an interesting partial record of these facilities, it is worth considering their potential for reuse in their original locations.

The economic benefits to the ship from these potential restorations depend on the development of a multi-tour program and "in-port cruise program" utilizing the "ship within a ship" concept.

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