Long-Hidden Room Reportedly Discovered On The Queen Mary

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(Photo by Erik Griswold via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

The Queen Mary, built in Scotland in 1933, found a new home in Long Beach in 1967. Considering how long the ship has been on the West Coast, and how it's been obsessed over by a slew of historians, you'd think that every nook and cranny of the ship has seen its time in the spotlight.

That's not quite the case, apparently, as it was announced last week that a new room has been uncovered on the ship. The discovery happened when workers were doing repairs in the bathroom of the ship's A-deck, above the main visitor entrance, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

This new room was hidden behind the locked bathroom, and is reported to be a 1,500-square-foot space. The space contains the machinery that is used to control the ship's anchors; officials say they believe that the room may have been sealed off in the 1960s as the ship was being converted into a hotel and tourist attraction. In a Facebook post, organizers say that the room is "in nearly pristine condition":

We rediscovered a room, in nearly pristine condition, that was chock full of massive equipment, gears and motors that had probably not been seen in decades, maybe since the renovation in the late ‘60’s. This mechanical space located beneath the Forecastle contains the original power equipment handling the anchors, each weighing in at 16 tons, as well as warping gear that served the Queen Mary’s impressive anchor deployment retraction system.

The post goes on to say that planners are working on preserving the equipment, and possibly incorporating it into the guided tours that take place on the ship. “We want to present the room in a way that reflects the historical significance,” Dan Zaharoni, chief development officer for Urban Commons, told the Press Telegram. Urban Commons currently holds the lease on the Queen Mary, and manages operations on the ship and the area surrounding it. “By reinterpreting and presenting things in different ways than they have been in the past, we think we can attract a whole new audience.”

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A past picture of the newly discovered room, according to officials. (Via The Queen Mary/Facebook)

There is a bit of debate over how long the room has actually been hidden, and if it'd really been hidden at all. As noted at NBC 4, one commentor on the Queen Mary's Facebook page claim that they'd seen the room in the early '80s while he was serving as a guide on the ship. Another commentor said that the room was simply hard for the public to access, but was not necessarily sealed up for decades.

The discovery (and potential utilization of the new room) comes at a precarious time for the Queen Mary. This March, a group of naval architects and marine engineers released a report saying that the ship is in such bad shape that it could possibly sink. The list of "critical" repairs add up to about $23 million. In 2016, Urban Commons announced plans to remodel the ship and develop a new "entertainment district" in the space immediately surrounding the ship; this entertainment and retail complex is expected to cost about $250 million.