Today’s video is a photographic one. I visited The Queen Mary docked permanently in Long Beach, California back in 2018. That was an amazing week of visiting museums, a botanical garden, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Queen Mary! The former luxury liner was the farthest out and beyond worth it! I took 3 tours, saw 1 movie (history of the ship) and wandered around. It was outstanding!
“The RMS Queen Mary is a retired British ocean liner that sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard-White Star Line and was built by John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Scotland. Queen Mary, along with RMS Queen Elizabeth, were built as part of Cunard’s planned two-ship weekly express service between Southampton, Cherbourg and New York. The two ships were a British response to the express superliners built by German, Italian and French companies in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage on 27 May 1936 and won the Blue Riband that August; she lost the title to SS Normandie in 1937 and recaptured it in 1938, holding it until 1952 when it was taken by the new SS United States. With the outbreak of World War II, she was converted into a troopship and ferried Allied soldiers during the conflict.
Following the war, Queen Mary was refitted for passenger service and along with Queen Elizabeth commenced the two-ship transatlantic passenger service for which the two ships were initially built. The two ships dominated the transatlantic passenger transportation market until the dawn of the jet age in the late 1950s. By the mid-1960s, Queen Mary was ageing and was operating at a loss.
After several years of decreased profits for Cunard Line, Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967. She left Southampton for the last time on 31 October 1967 and sailed to the port of Long Beach, California, United States, where she remains permanently moored. The ship serves as a tourist attraction featuring restaurants, a museum and a hotel. The ship is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has accepted Queen Mary as part of the Historic Hotels of America.
In 2021, faced with a series of bankruptcies of leaseholders and failed developments, the City of Long Beach took control of the ship and vowed to effect needed repairs.
With Germany launching Bremen and Europa into service, Britain did not want to be left behind in the shipbuilding race. White Star Line began construction on their 80,000-ton Oceanic in 1928, while Cunard planned a 75,000-ton unnamed ship of their own.
Construction on the ship, then known only as “Hull Number 534”, began in December 1930 on the River Clyde by the John Brown & Company shipyard at Clydebank in Scotland. Work was halted in December 1931 due to the Great Depression and Cunard applied to the British Government for a loan to complete 534. The loan was granted, with enough money to complete the unfinished ship, and also to build a running mate, with the intention to provide a two ship weekly service to New York.
One condition of the loan was that Cunard merge with the White Star Line, another struggling British shipping company, which was Cunard’s chief British rival at the time and which had already been forced by the depression to cancel construction of its Oceanic. Both lines agreed and the merger was completed on 10 May 1934. Work on Queen Mary resumed immediately and she was launched on 26 September 1934. Completion ultimately took 3+1⁄2 years and cost 3.5 million pounds sterling, then equal to $17.5 million equivalent to $338,550,995 in 2020. Much of the ship’s interior was designed and constructed by the Bromsgrove Guild. Prior to the ship’s launch, the River Clyde had to be specifically deepened to cope with her size, this being undertaken by the engineer D. Alan Stevenson.
The ship was named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. Until her launch, the name was kept a closely guarded secret. Legend has it that Cunard intended to name the ship Victoria, in keeping with company tradition of giving its ships names ending in “ia”, but when company representatives asked the King’s permission to name the ocean liner after Britain’s “greatest Queen”, he said his wife, Mary of Teck, would be delighted. And so, the legend goes, the delegation had, of course, no other choice but to report that No. 534 would be called Queen Mary.
This story was denied by company officials, and traditionally the names of sovereigns have only been used for capital ships of the Royal Navy. Some support for the story was provided by Washington Post editor Felix Morley, who sailed as a guest of the Cunard Line on Queen Mary‘s 1936 maiden voyage. In his 1979 autobiography, For the Record, Morley wrote that he was placed at a table with Sir Percy Bates, chairman of the Cunard Line. Bates told him the story of the naming of the ship “on condition you won’t print it during my lifetime.” The name Queen Mary could also have been decided upon as a compromise between Cunard and the White Star Line, as both lines had traditions of using names either ending in “ic” with White Star and “ia” with Cunard.
Queen Mary was fitted with 24 Yarrow boilers in four boiler rooms and four Parsons turbines in two engine rooms. The boilers delivered 400 pounds per square inch (28 bar) steam at 700 °F (371 °C) which provided a maximum of 212,000 shp (158,000 kW) to four propellers, each turning at 200 RPM. Queen Mary achieved 32.84 knots on her acceptance trials in early 1936.
In 1934 the new liner was launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary as RMSQueen Mary. On her way down the slipway, Queen Mary was slowed by eighteen drag chains, which checked the liner’s progress into the River Clyde, a portion of which had been widened to accommodate the launch.
When she sailed on her maiden voyage from Southampton on 27 May 1936, she was commanded by Sir Edgar Britten, who had been the master designate for Cunard White Star whilst the ship was under construction at the John Brown shipyard. Queen Mary measured 80,774 gross register tons (GRT). Her rival Normandie, which originally measured 79,280 Gross register tons, had been modified the preceding winter to increase her size to 83,243 GRT.Queen Mary sailed at high speed for most of her maiden voyage to New York, until heavy fog forced a reduction of speed on the final day of the crossing, arriving in New York Harbor on 1 June 1936.
Queen Mary‘s design was criticised for being too traditional, especially when Normandie‘s hull was revolutionary with a clipper-shaped, streamlined bow. Except for her cruiser stern, she seemed to be an enlarged version of her Cunard predecessors from the pre–First World War era. Her interior design, while mostly Art Deco, seemed restrained and conservative when compared to the ultramodern French liner. Queen Mary proved to be the more popular vessel than her rival, in terms of passengers carried.
In August 1936, Queen Mary captured the Blue Riband from Normandie, with average speeds of 30.14 knots (55.82 km/h; 34.68 mph) westbound and 30.63 knots (56.73 km/h; 35.25 mph) eastbound. Normandie was refitted with a new set of propellers in 1937 and reclaimed the honour, but in 1938 Queen Mary took back the Blue Riband in both directions with average speeds of 30.99 knots (57.39 km/h; 35.66 mph) westbound and 31.69 knots (58.69 km/h; 36.47 mph) eastbound, records which stood until lost to United States in 1952.
Among facilities available onboard Queen Mary, the liner featured two indoor swimming pools, beauty salons, libraries and children’s nurseries for all three classes, a music studio and lecture hall, telephone connectivity to anywhere in the world, outdoor paddle tennis courts and dog kennels. The largest room onboard was the cabin class (first class) main dining room (grand salon), spanning three stories in height and anchored by wide columns. The ship had many air-conditioned public rooms onboard. The cabin-class swimming pool facility spanned over two decks in height. This was the first ocean liner to be equipped with her own Jewish prayer room – part of a policy to show that British shipping lines avoided the antisemitism evident in Nazi Germany.
The cabin-class main dining room featured a large map of the transatlantic crossing, with twin tracks symbolising the winter/spring route (further south to avoid icebergs) and the summer/autumn route. During each crossing, a motorised model of Queen Mary would indicate the vessel’s progress en route.
As an alternative to the main dining room, Queen Mary featured a separate cabin-class Verandah Grill on the Sun Deck at the upper aft of the ship. The Verandah Grill was an exclusive à la carte restaurant with a capacity of approximately eighty passengers and was converted to the Starlight Club at night. Also on board was the Observation Bar, an Art Deco-styled lounge with wide ocean views.
Woods from different regions of the British Empire were used in her public rooms and staterooms. Accommodation ranged from fully equipped, luxurious cabin (first) class staterooms to modest and cramped third-class cabins. Artists commissioned by Cunard in 1933 for works of art in the interior include Edward Wadsworth and A. Duncan Carse.
In late August 1939, Queen Mary was on a return run from New York to Southampton. The international situation led to her being escorted by the battlecruiser HMS Hood. She arrived safely and set out again for New York on 1 September. By the time she arrived, war had been declared and she was ordered to remain in port alongside Normandie until further notice.
In March 1940, Queen Mary and Normandie were joined in New York by Queen Mary‘s new running mate Queen Elizabeth, fresh from her secret dash from Clydebank. The three largest liners in the world sat idle for some time until the Allied commanders decided that all three ships could be used as troopships. Normandie was destroyed by fire during her troopship conversion. Queen Mary left New York for Sydney, Australia, where she, along with several other liners, was converted into a troopship to carry Australian and New Zealand soldiers to the United Kingdom.
In the Second World War conversion, the ship’s hull, superstructure, and funnels were painted navy grey. As a result of her new colour, and in combination with her great speed, she became known as the “Grey Ghost”. To protect against magnetic mines, a degaussing coil was fitted around the outside of the hull. Inside, stateroom furniture and decoration were removed and replaced with triple-tiered (fixed) wooden bunks, which were later replaced by “standee” (fold-up) bunks.
A total of 6 miles (10 km) of carpet, 220 cases of china, crystal and silver services, tapestries, and paintings were removed and stored in warehouses for the duration of the war. The woodwork in the staterooms, the cabin-class dining room, and other public areas were covered with leather. Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were the largest and fastest troopships involved in the war, often carrying as many as 15,000 men in a single voyage, and often travelling out of convoy and without escort. Their high speed and zigzag courses made it virtually impossible for U-boats to catch them.
On 2 October 1942, Queen Mary accidentally sank one of her escort ships, slicing through the light cruiser HMS Curacoa off the Irish coast with a loss of 239 lives. Queen Mary was carrying thousands of Americans of the 29th Infantry Division to join the Allied forces in Europe. Due to the risk of U-boat attacks, Queen Mary was under orders not to stop under any circumstances and steamed onward with a fractured stem. Some sources claim that hours later, the convoy’s lead escort[clarification needed] returned to rescue 99 survivors of Curacoa‘s crew of 338, including her captain John W. Boutwood. This claim is contradicted by the liner’s then Staff Captain (and later Cunard Commodore) Harry Grattidge, who records that Queen Mary‘s Captain, Gordon Illingsworth, immediately ordered the accompanying destroyers to look for survivors within moments of Curacoa‘s sinking.
From 8–14 December 1942, Queen Mary carried 10,389 soldiers and 950 crew (total 11,339). During this trip, while 700 miles (1,100 km) from Scotland during a gale, she was suddenly hit broadside by a rogue wave that might have reached a height of 28 metres (92 ft). An account of this crossing can be found in Carter’s book. As quoted in the book, Carter’s father, Dr. Norval Carter, part of the 110th Station Hospital on board at the time, wrote in a letter that at one point Queen Mary “damned near capsized… One moment the top deck was at its usual height and then, swoom! Down, over, and forward she would pitch.” It was calculated later that the ship rolled 52 degrees, and would have capsized had she rolled another three degrees.
From 25–30 July 1943, Queen Mary carried 15,740 soldiers and 943 crew (total 16,683), a standing record for the most passengers ever transported on one vessel. This was only possible in summer as passengers had to sleep on deck.
During the war Queen Mary carried British Prime Minister Winston Churchill across the Atlantic for meetings with fellow Allied forces officials on several occasions. He was listed on the passenger manifest as “Colonel Warden”.
After delivering war brides to Canada, Queen Mary made her fastest ever crossing, returning to Southampton in only three days, 22 hours and 42 minutes at an average speed of just under 32 knots (59 km/h). From September 1946 to July 1947, Queen Mary was refitted for passenger service, adding air conditioning and upgrading her berth configuration to 711 first class (formerly called cabin class), 707 cabin class (formerly tourist class) and 577 tourist class (formerly third class) passengers. Following their refit, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth dominated the transatlantic passenger trade as Cunard White Star’s two-ship weekly express service through the latter half of the 1940s and well into the 1950s. They proved highly profitable for Cunard (as the company was renamed in 1947).
In 1958, the first transatlantic flight by a jet aircraft began a completely new era of competition for the Cunard Queens. With a London–New York travel time of just 7–8 hours now possible with the new aircraft, demand for a sea crossing of the ocean fell away markedly. On some voyages, winters especially, Queen Mary sailed into harbour with more crew than passengers, though both she and Queen Elizabeth still averaged over 1,000 passengers per crossing into the middle 1960s. By 1965, the entire Cunard fleet was operating at a loss.
Hoping to continue financing Queen Elizabeth 2 which was under construction at Brown’s shipyard, Cunard mortgaged the majority of the fleet. Due to a combination of age, lack of public interest, inefficiency in a new market and the damaging after-effects of the national seamen’s strike, Cunard announced that both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth would be retired from service and sold off. Many offers were submitted, and the bid of $3.45m/£1.2m from Long Beach, California surpassed the Japanese scrap merchants. Queen Mary was featured in the film Assault on a Queen (1966) starring Frank Sinatra.
Queen Mary was retired from service in 1967. On 27 September, she completed her 1,000th and last crossing of the North Atlantic, having carried 2,112,000 passengers over 3,792,227 miles (6,102,998 km). Under the command of Captain John Treasure Jones, who had been her captain since 1965, she sailed from Southampton for the last time on 31 October with 1,093 passengers and 806 crew. After a voyage around Cape Horn, she arrived in Long Beach on 9 December.Queen Elizabeth was withdrawn in 1968 and Queen Elizabeth 2 took over the transatlantic route in 1969.
Queen Mary‘s original professionally-manned wireless radio room was removed when the ship was moored in Long Beach. In its place, an amateur radio room proposed by Long Beach resident and radio amateur Nate Brightman, K6OSC, was created one deck above the original radio reception room, with some of the discarded original radio equipment used for display purposes. The new Wireless Room was opened for operation on April 22, 1979. The amateur radio station, with the call sign W6RO (“Whiskey Six Romeo Oscar”), relies on volunteers from a local amateur radio club. They staff the radio room during most public hours. The radios can also be used by other licensed amateur radio operators.
In honour of his over forty years of dedication to W6RO and Queen Mary, in November 2007 the Queen Mary Wireless Room was renamed as the Nate Brightman Radio Room. This was announced on 28 October 2007, at Brightman’s 90th birthday party by Joseph Prevratil, former President and CEO of Queen Mary.
Following Queen Mary‘s permanent docking in California, claims were made that the ship was haunted. In 2008, Time magazine included the Queen Mary among its “Top 10 Haunted Places”. One of the staterooms is alleged to be haunted by the spirit of a person supposedly murdered there. The Queen Mary Hotel promotes suite room B-340, a former third class cabin, as “notoriously haunted”.Queen Mary also operates a number of commercial tours that include haunted attraction experiences, such as Dark Harbor, which operates during the Halloween season, the “Haunted Encounters Tour” and “Ghosts and Legends” tour, promoted as featuring “terrifying original stories and characters based on the ship’s well-known paranormal tales”.Skeptical Inquirer writer John Champion has criticised the haunted tours, calling them a “cynical exploitation of the space” and noting that much effort is put into promoting the ship as a “haunted attraction”, while efforts to explain or preserve the factual history of the ship are “somehow pushed to the wayside”.Center for Inquiry fellow Joe Nickell attributes the Queen Mary‘s haunting legends to pareidolia, illusory mental images triggered by subjective feelings, and daydreaming states commonly experienced by workers, such as hotel staff, doing repetitive chores.“-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary