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RMS Queen Mary

I recently had the opportunity to visit RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, which is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while now.

RMS Queen Mary at dock in Long Beach, CA, Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Queen Mary sailing in 1936

Queen Mary has had a pretty illustrious history, which I won’t go into in too much detail because you can read about it on her website, HERE. She was built in Scotland for the Cunard Line and had her maiden voyage in 1936. She quickly became a favorite for the rich and famous who wanted to travel luxuriously. During WWII she became a troopship and was nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” due to her stealth and grey paint. If I heard correctly on one of my tours, at one point she carried as many as 16,000 troops on one voyage, which is still a record to this day. I know that she is a large boat, but that seems like way too many people. Anyways, in 1967 she retired and docked in Long Beach, where she remains to this day.

The four pictures above are shots I took on my visit. The first is a dark image of one of her propellers. It was pretty neat that they had built this little enclosure outside of the boat so that people could look down at it. The second picture is of the First Class pool, which is reported to be haunted. We took two ghost tours on the boat and so heard about all of the encounters people have claimed to have had in that area. Either way, that was a creepy room. The third picture shows the bridge. I was glad they had most of the equipment labeled because I wouldn’t know what all of it does. The fourth shows the side of the ship with a large banner for their Princess Diana exhibition. To get a full shot of the ship you really have to be on the other side of the Long Beach Harbor. Wish I had known that in advance, but oh well.

I will also take this opportunity to share some of the artifacts we have from Queen Mary. We have a lot more in our archival collection, but those are not, for the most part, photographed and/or easily accessible.

The first two are ceramic pieces from the ship. I don’t know what it is about the pattern and shape, but I really do like these pieces. The first is a cup and saucer and the other is a teapot. You can buy these and other pieces on the ship. The third picture shows a more recent acquisition, a deck chair. This is one of the pieces from the huge Beazley steamship ephemera collection we received in 2011/2012. The last image (which is unfortunately very small) shows a cutaway print of Queen Mary. On the ship there were cutaway models of several famous ships, which are always fun to look at.

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