Dining Saloon and Drawing Room - 1893 Cunard Passenger's Log Book
THE DINING SALOON
The First Class Dining Saloon is placed on the main deck, and is an apartment of immense size, the length overall being about 100 feet, and the breadth 62 feet. The general style of the Dining Saloon suggests the Italian. The walls are in old Spanish mahogany, of a design at once chaste and effective.
The upholstering is in dark red figured frieze velvet, and the curtains are in keeping, and here it may be interesting to note that there is a set of curtains suitable to the general scheme of decoration, for both summer and winter, for all the public and several of the private saloons.
An important feature is the height of this room, which is 10 feet throughout, and even this extra foot to the usual height will be a welcome concession to comfort in insuring better ventilation. Another feature is the want of uniformity in the saloon, an advantage gained owing to the fact that various air and ventilating shafts, stairways to lower cabins, partial bulkhead, etc., break up the area.
They detract from the appearance of size, which is not a disadvantage, but, by judicious planning, a large number of nooks and corners have been secured, where, by arrangement small parties may dine regularly in almost complete seclusion, instead of being mixed in the general company. Indeed, sauntering through the saloon, the belief grows upon one, that those seeming excrescences, with their immense bevelled mirrors, or richly carved panellings, are the result of careful planning, with the object of satisfying the desire of small parties.
There are four tiers of large tables running fore and aft, with the usual style of revolving chair, having carved on the back the lion rampant holding a globe in its forepaws, the well known insignia of the Cunard Company. Accommodation is provided for the whole of the first-class passengers in this saloon, while a small saloon adjoining is specially provided for the children and servants of first-class passengers. This enables all the passengers to dine at one hour, instead of in two groups, as is nearly always the case in large steamers.
The sideboard instead of having the usual marble top with brass rail, is entirely of Spanish mahogany, in keeping with the general finish of the saloon, and, as it is 25 feet long, it presents a handsome appearance with its great expanse of bevelled mirrors. The public rooms on the promenade deck being of unusual size, the dining saloon is designed purely as a salle manger, and the great necessity of perfect ventilation has been fully recognised.
The system adopted is somewhat novel. Each of the side-lights in the saloon, of which there are 20 on either side, is of exceptional size and diameter, and by the use of Utley's patent ventilator, which we shall describe later, the inlet for air can be left open no matter how rough the sea may be. This ensures a constant supply of fresh air entering for the whole length of the saloon. The outlet is provided for by oval ventilating shafts through the saloon roof, thence by passages and shafts to shade deck, where also the ventilators may be left open under all conditions.
For lighting as well as ventilating the saloon there is a central well which is about 24 feet long by about 16 feet broad, and is carried right up and through the upper and promenade decks, the covering just above the line of the shade deck being a curved dome of stained glass with an outer casing of thick glass in teak framing, hinged to open for purposes of ventilation.
The extreme height from dining room floor is about 33 feet. The woodwork of this well is decorated ivory, white relieved, with gold lines in the mouldings. The pilasters above the line of promenade deck are richly carved and surmounted with a frieze all round. The outer side of the well, that forming part of the walls of the drawing room, is of cedar stiles in the lower part, with a dado moulding, while the upper part is panelled, with heavy clear bevelled glass mounted in sashes, each swinging on a centre pivot, and all made to lock in position, a commendable departure from the hitherto largely adopted practice of leaving the upper part - that above a ballustrade—open.
This will be a relief to the passengers who indisposed to enjoy the luxuries of the table, a condition which unfortunately does present itself to many who "go down to the sea in ships," when they will prefer the solace of the cheery fireside of the drawing room. Thanks to the precaution taken,. there cannot come to them unpleasant reminders of the penalty of their weakness in the fragrant odours which float up the well from the dining saloon below.
THE DRAWING ROOM.
The fireside is one of the most charming features of the beautiful drawing room, which is an unusually large apartment, 6o feet long by 3o feet broad, and is well lighted, not only from the large square windows looking on to the promenade on either side of the ship, but from the well which pierces the promenade deck in the centre of the saloon, and from two cupolas, one in the centre of that part of the saloon forward of the well, and the other in the part aft.
The general effect, too, is greatly enhanced by the roof which has a rise in the centre. The two views of this saloon give an excellent idea of the admirable taste with which its decorations have been carried out. The " ingle-neuk" is quite an unusual feature of the drawing room. or perhaps a return to the homely conditions which formerly obtained, without any of those discomforts which Dickens has narrated in his inimitable style.
It is at the forward end, the mantle and overmantle are both in satinwood, richly carved, w ith 3 arched mirrors, all in keeping with the general scheme of decoration of the room, which is in the renaissance style ; the grate is of brass, and the hearth is laid with Persian tiles. A feeling of cosiness is contributed by two lounges fitted on either side of the fire-place, with an ottoman in front, while the subdued light through the stained glass cupola completes the charming effect.
Comfort is suggested by the arrangement as well as by the whole apartment. The walls are lined with satinwood relieved with cedar mouldings, the frieze panels being of plane tree. The ceiling is in pine, decorated in light tones, old ivory prevailing, with a little gilding. The electric lamps are arranged in alternate panels forming the centre of a pattern, and not on the beams, as is usual.
The steel stancheons which support the roof are encased with satinwood pillars richly moulded and carved. There are 2 porches, and these connect with a passage on either side to staterooms forward on the promenade deck. These porches are also of satinwood, with stained glass panels, and rich brocade portiere curtains hung across the entrances.
At the after end of this saloon is a grand piano, and into a recess has been fitted an American organ, the casing being of satinwood, with cedar wood panels. These were supplied by Messrs. Paterson, Sons & Co., of Glasgow. Like the other furnishings it is of satinwood, the polished top and panels of which show the beautifully rich clouded figure of the wood in fine contrast to the duller surface of the cedar. Both instruments are specially protected from damp and moths, the stools in each case being made receptacles for music.
The settees, ottomans, &c., with the chairs for the card tables, are upholstered in rich velvets and brocades of various colouring, which together with the rich Persian wove carpet which covers the floor, and the delightful variety and irregularity of the furniture, give the room a very attractive appearance. Two arched vestibules lead from this charming room into the landing of the grand staircase already described.
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- Dining Saloon and Drawing Room
- Smoking Room and Library
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- Barber Shop and Lavatories
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