SS Normandie: Trans-Atlantic haut décor

Perhaps one of the greatest liners was the Normandie launched in 1932 for the Le Havre-New York route of Compagnie Générale Translatlantique (or French Line) and the great rival to the Queen Mary for the coveted Blue Riband trans-Atlantic speed record between 1935-1938.

The epitome of French haut décor the Normandie was truly a decadent, luxury ship with Art Deco interiors and large spaces, not least the first class dining room for 700 which was illuminated by pillars of Lalique glass. Exclusive accommodation was provided by a number of large suites including the Grande Luxe Trouville suite and the rather more historic than moderne in decoration Jumièges suite based on the chambers of Louis XV’s mistress the Marquise de Pompadour.

Just two days after the start of the Second World War the Normandie was impounded by the US government becoming the USS Lafayette in 1941. Sadly she came to an ignominious end as whilst being converted to a troopship in 1942 she caught fire capsizing in the Hudson River and although salvaged restoration was too expensive.

These photographs are from an album of 46 photographs of the Normandie acquired by the RIBA in 2014.

 
Launched:  Saint-Nazaire, 1932
 
Disposal:  Scrapped: 1946-1948
 
Tonnage:  82,799 tons
 
Length:  1029 feet or 314 metres
 
Maximum speed:  32.2 knots

 

Also see: Ocean Liners, RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II, SS Oriana.

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RIBA10714Clothes lines, Glencaple, near Dumfries

 
RIBA372737 Bidston Road, Oxton, Birkenhead, Merseyside: the dining room

 
RIBA2518-9Alexander Fleming House, Elephant and Castle, Southwark, London


RIBA34554Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: view of the staggered terrace of houses with twelve-storey point blocks in the background

 
RIBA59327Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: Lynn Chadwick's sculpture 'The Watchers' with the point blocks beyond

 
RIBA4620Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the staggered line of old people's cottages


RIBA2478Battersea 'A' Power Station, London, by night

 
RIBA2902-26Berthold Lubetkin in top hat beside caryatid at the entrance to Highpoint Two, North Hill, Highgate, London

 
RIBA2561-10Black & White Milk Bar, Gray's Inn Road, London, at night


RIBA5151Breves Lalique Galleries, Bond Street, London

 
RIBA3722Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, seen from Brushfield Street

 
RIBA3643-71Decimus Burton


RIBA4081Design for a poster for the Central Liquor Control Board entitled 'Use and Beauty' to decorate a pub or canteen, possibly in the Carlisle area

 
RIBA21225Design for a proposed new front for the North Briton public house, 10 New North Road, Hoxton, London

 
RIBA4113Design for a wallpaper entitled 'The Callum'


RIBA20216Design for Bromley Hall School for children with physical disabilities, Bromley Hall Road, Tower Hamlets, London

 
RIBA29448Design for Calverley Grange (now Pembury Grange), Sandown Park, Pembury, Kent: elevation, for Neville Ward

 
RIBA4022Design for Frinton Park Estate, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex


RIBA36739Design for Gatwick Airport: ground floor plan of the terminal building known as 'The Beehive'

 
RIBA36537Design for the Brook Street Hill Garden Village, Brentwood, Essex, for Homesteads Ltd.: plan with perspective details showing examples of proposed houses

 
RIBA4033Design for the interior decoration of the Chapel of St Joseph, Oratory of St Philip Neri, Brompton Road, Kensington, London


RIBA3087-37Designs for Broadleys (now Windermere Motor Boat Club), Gillhead, near Cartmel Fell, Lake Windermere, Cumbria, for Arthur Currer Briggs: perspective of terrace front with inset floor plans

 
RIBA3309-51Dreamland, Margate, Kent

 
RIBA3440-58Eames House, 206 Chautauqua Way, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles


RIBA5251Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: view showing the triaxial plan form of the spiral staircase of Bevin Court

 
RIBA72715Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the entrance hall and corridor

 
RIBA2785-21Norman Foster


RIBA2427-3Penguin Pool, London Zoo, Regent's Park, London: the elliptical pool and ramp

 
RIBA3519-62Philharmonie, Berlin

 
RIBA2706-17Skylon, Festival of Britain, South Bank, London


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