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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RIBA4341Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: the auditorium seen from circle left

 
RIBA4342Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: the auditorium seen from the proscenium

 
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RIBA4344Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

 
RIBA4345Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: the inscription Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr O Ffwrnais Awen/In These Stones Horizons Sing over the entrance

 
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RIBA4351Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: a rehearsal space

 
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RIBA4353Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: a rehearsal space

 
RIBA4354Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: the scenery street

 
RIBA4355Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: detail of the lettering and fenestration of the entrance dome seen from the bar area


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RIBA4362Little Chef restaurant (now The Garden Cafe), Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London: one of the service bars


RIBA4363Little Chef restaurant (now The Garden Cafe), Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London: the dining area

 
RIBA4364Little Chef restaurant (now The Garden Cafe), Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London; one of the hexangonal glazed dining areas

 
RIBA4365Little Chef restaurant (now The Garden Cafe), Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London: the dining area