08 December 2009

Beauty Treatment

From the Spokane Daily Chronicle on this day in 1949:

'Grand Old Lady' Undergoes Annual Beauty Treatment

LONDON, Dec. 8. (NANA) - The grand old lady of pier 90--the Queen Mary--is taking a holiday for her annual beauty treatment. She's having the whole works, shampoo, manicure, massage, facial and fresh make-up--at a time when passenger traffic is lighter.

All Cunard ships are withdrawn from the Atlantic service, for this beauty treatment, which started in November and will last until early next year. The biggest ships go into the King George V drydock at Southampton--one of the largest of its kind in the world. There 8000 men of all trades go to work. The Queen Mary will be in 27 days. The Mauretania comes next and then the Queen Elizabeth will move in for a 43-day renovation job.

The other Cunard ships will be serviced at Liverpool. The emphasis is on thoroughness and utmost speed. The ships must be back on the run quickly, since they are one of Britain's biggest dollar earners.

The painters are the first on board, scraping the hull, and renewing all outside paint. While they are working, 1000 cleaning, polishing and repair men come aboard. On their heels are the "hide-revivers"--to look after all the leather work and apply lashings of "tonic."

Next comes the colossal engineering work. The 990 feet of cable anchor chain is laid out at the bottom of the dock. Every inch has to be inspected, tested and cleaned. Boilers and turbines have to be examined, water tanks inspected, and structural tests made.

One of the biggest interior jobs is the mothproofing of all fabrics in the public rooms. Specialists renovate the rare wood panelings, the quilted satin walls and the leather fittings. All stateroom furnishings, drapes and spreads also have to be cleaned. The stocks of linen, flat silver, dining room and kitchen equipment, and 25 miles of carpet get a going-over. On the decks there are nearly 200 lifeboats to be overhauled.

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