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.

24 items
RIBA105418SS Normandie

 
RIBA105419SS Normandie: the sundeck

 
RIBA105421SS Normandie: the first-class hall showing the lifts


RIBA105422SS Normandie: the swimming pool

 
RIBA105423SS Normandie: the swimming pool bar

 
RIBA105426SS Normandie: the hairdressing salon


RIBA105427SS Normandie: the gymnasium

 
RIBA105428SS Normandie: the safety office

 
RIBA105429SS Normandie: the dog kennels concealed inside one of the funnels


RIBA105430SS Normandie: the infants' playroom

 
RIBA105431SS Normandie: the chapel

 
RIBA105432SS Normandie: the great hall


RIBA105434SS Normandie: the first-class smoking room and staircase

 
RIBA105438SS Normandie: the first-class dining room

 
RIBA105439SS Normandie: the Grand Salon


RIBA105442SS Normandie: the bedroom for the Appartement Luxe Jumieges

 
RIBA105443SS Normandie: the winter garden

 
RIBA105445SS Normandie: the lounge and dining room for the Appartement Grande Luxe Trouville


RIBA105448SS Normandie: the bedroom of the Appartement Luxe Alencon

 
RIBA105450SS Normandie: the lounge of the Appartement Luxe Honfleur

 
RIBA105451SS Normandie: a bathroom


RIBA105456SS Normandie: cabin types; 191/2-245/6-365/6 369-370-509-512-517-621-139-144-341/2-457-462-524-542

 
RIBA105457SS Normandie: cabin types; 135-146, 453, 458, 538, 543

 
RIBA105459SS Normandie: the Cabine Salon Metallique