Shaw Savill Line - QSMV Dominion Monarch – Special Photo Album

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that my sites have never been associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author commenced working in the Passenger Shipping Industry back in 1960 but is now very much retired and I hope that the well over 625 articles on classic liners and cruise ships that I have written will continue to inform and also bring much joy to ship enthusiasts for many more years to come!

The Largest Liner of its Kind ever to be Built

Page Two – Pre-Sea Trails Interior Photo Album

Introduction: All photographs and the information below is based on a 63 page booklet I received from Jo Garrett, who’s Father Mr. Eddy Garret worked for over thirty years at the famed Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson shipyards and he was involved in the building of this great liner as well as many other ships. The images presented below originate from this commemorative booklet that was released and distributed amongst the staff and workers at the yard only, and it contains some the best possible information and an amazing image library of the ship, which is the best that I have ever seen. These include the lounges and all areas, but they were all taken prior to her heading out for her deed sea trails and this publication was given to the staff on the occasion of her maiden voyage on February 17, 1939.

Thus, as these photo’s were taken prior to her being completed, some lounges may look partially unfurnished or somewhat unfinished, as not all her furniture are in place in all of her Lounges, nor is the magnificent Smoking Room completed, but I have added a smaller picture of the Smoking Room after her completion, thus showing this venue in all her glory. Thus what you see on this page is what you may call the bare bones of her interiors that will come to life when she sails!

Reuben Goossens.

The front cover of the “Dominion Monarch” Commemorative Booklet used for this very special page

And also for Page 4, that contains the ships Layouts (plans)

Public Venues on C Deck:

1… The Foyer:

The Foyer on C Deck was more of the heart of the ship, rather than just where you boarded and left the ship when in ports. In fact this spacious entrance to this grand liner that did feature a grand staircase with a beautifully ornate metal balustrade and glass panels leading to the decks above. However, there was also the lift complete with an attendant who would take you to any of the five main decks, except the top deck Games Deck.

The Main Foyer on C Deck

However, the Foyer was the centre from which all parts of the ship could be reached. The decorative treatment was relatively diminutive, as it was in other foyers, but certainly most refined, as the beauty of this venue relied on the use of rich Ash timbers, as well as the Grey Brown Chestnut and the Polar Burr panelling, all of which created the perfect effect!

However, what made this foyer so very different from all other Foyers is that on the portside there was a delightful cocktail Bar and a delightful small lounge area. This was simply the perfect place to meet friends and have a drink during the day, as well before your meals, for right here in the foyer was the entrance to the ships delightful Dining Room.

But then the starboard side, there was the shop and the Ladies Beauty and Hairdressing Salon as well as the Men’s Hairdresser. Along the center forward wall was a comfy sofa with a large mirror behind it with a clock on it above and there were also a chair with round table on each side. Then on the aft wall on the two sides of the lifts but set back, were the entrance doors into the 300 seat Dining Room, that a Cold Buffet center forward of the venue. In addition there was a dome in the middle of the room.

The Dining Room looking towards the beautiful foil metal artwork on her aft wall that was created by Pinter Davis


Here we see a view of the Dining Room with the tables set for a special function whilst

she is still being made ready for her sea trails

The Dining Room was certainly of generous proportions as it extended the full width of the ship and it seated up to 300 guests in great comfort. There was ample lighting as well as portholes that made the venue bright during the day and romantic at night, but the venue always felt spacious. The center portion of the ceiling was raised to form a coved dome, illuminated with concealed cornice lighting. As guests walked in to this venue, the very first thing they would see is the huge piece of artwork, being the focal point of this room! This feature was created by the artist Mrs. Pinter Davis and it is executed in metal foil on a background of selected Walnut. In the middle there are two beautifully moulded figures of a man and a woman, the woman holding in her right hand a bunch of English flowers and the man is holding flowers from sub-tropical countries. The panelling in the room is in Prima Vera, being a golden tone wood that was used mostly as simple treatment to form a better and a stronger statement for the furnishings and other decorative features in the room. The comfortable armchairs were all in Sycamore and upholstered in fine leather. The tabled are arranged for two, four or eight persons. The columns were sheathed in walnut root and flanked with engraved glass pylons extending from the floor to ceiling. The Cold Buffet was 5.2m - 17ft long and was topped with golden Quartzite tiles. The Restaurant life the Main Foyer was fully Air-Conditioned for the passenger’s comfort, thus it was no wonder that the bar in the foyer was so popular, especially when the ship was in the tropics!

The Galley was “all electric” thus for an ocean liner in the early 1930s, it was revolutionary for the day!

A Deck:

T the Dominion Monarch had three main stairwells, forward, amidships and the aft stairwell, the children’s facilities was located somewhat further aft from the aft stairwell on the port side. There was as spacious safe deck space for them to play in alongside their Playroom. The Playroom had the wall beautifully decorated, with a timber fence painted along the bottom of the wall that wend around the venue, thus it was just like if you were in your own garden. Above the fence there were plants and humorous figures and animals taken from much loved nursery books. Then there was a range of items for the young ones to play with, be it that car or one of the other items available or the organised games, either here or somewhere on the ship! It was always an adventure on the great DM for the young passengers!

Children’s Playroom

Right next door was their Dining Room that had eating for thirty children. It featured Silky Oak and straight grained Oak woodwork and furniture featuring chairs with back with many curves, fitting in with the murals on the walls and the special lighting arrangement above! This Dining Room has its very own Galley and it offered excellent food that was designed especially for young tastes!

Children’s Dining Room

Promenade Deck:

1… Palm Court:

This is the only official indoor Lounge and Bar, but Palm Court was a very special venue, being spacious as it was close to being the full width of the ship. The feature of this room was of course its tropical feel, as it would feature a number of potted palms and other plants. The furnishing in this room was of a high quality cane with round tables. And on the aft wall was the Cocktail Bar made out of Sycamore with an inlaid design that gave the room an air of gaiety.

Palm Court seen before completion, thus without her palms, plants and other accessories, etc,

2… Swimming Pool:

As we head far aft we arrive at the ships 7m - 24ft x 5.18m - 16ft Swimming Pool. The pool floor was lined with golden Quartzite tiles, which colour and texture looked almost like sand, but with the concealed underwater lighting, the pool looked simply amazing at night. The rest of the pool and surround was tiled in blue and yellow and surrounding the pool stood four Bronze Standards, each supporting a lantern. There were male and female dressing rooms as well as teak tables and chairs around the pool area and on deck.

The ships Swimming Pool

3… The Gym:

The Gym was directly aft of the pool in a spacious venue. It had every possible item of equipment that was used in the early 1900’s such as “boxing pumeller machine” with gloves of course, even a boxing ring for those who were into a bout! But there were also (manual) rowing machines and a host of other activities available.

4… Promenade Deck:

Promenade Deck was the ships only true walk around deck. The deck was all teak and it was wide amidships more narrow aft, but even more so far forward as Palm Court only left a narrow walkway around it, but it remained a complete walk around deck. Lounge Deck above only had two side decks, but topside there was the huge Games Deck, But that will come last on this feature!

Here we see the spacious Promenade Deck, starboard side looking forward

We now arrive at the most important deck  for the passengers on the ship, “Lounge Deck: that does have two side sheltered Decks, including the forward glass enclosed section next to the forward Lobby and half of the Main Lounge.

Front Foyer:

Passengers may reach this level either via the stairs or the attended lift and they would have been greeted by a well-lit Lobby as it had large windows looking out forward down to the number three hatch and the Bridge and officer’s accommodation superstructure, which gave the Dominion Monarch such a unique appearance. However as they looked aft towards the Lounge, passengers were greeted by four splendid doors. Each door contained three sand blasted glass panels, with motifs of animal life from the various countries the ship visited, thus the doors ensured a grand entrance for the somewhat understated, but luxurious Lounge that that proved to be; “Ever so British!”

The Lounge entrance doors seen closed

1… The Main Lounge:

The Lounge certainly did have imposing dimensions with it being a good 22.25m - 73ft long and 17.70m - 58 ft wide! Both sides were by two galleries, flanked by four magnificent Bay Windows extending the full height of the room, giving the venue an expansive feel. Lighting was concealed by cove lighting in the ceiling and treated in a simple design, in addition there were six alabaster pedestal light fittings arranged between the Bay windows.

One of the Bay Window settings

Wall panelling was finished in Canadian Block Elm, whilst the alcoves at the aft end of the room featured Okumi panels. The lounge was furnished with ample easy chairs and sofas with upholstery which was typically British, but charming. There were chairs and round tables both with walnut legs and on the floor there was carefully hand made carpets, and there were imposing floor to ceiling curtains along all the windows. The colouring in the Lounge was demur, but still gently modern for the day, thus the effect was both traditional, yet bright therefore the Main Lounge felt luxurious, yet it had a joyful atmosphere.

Here is an overall view of the Lounge and the superb decorative panel on the aft wall

Please remember that all interior photographs on this page were taken prior her deep-sea trails

The main feature in the Lounge is the huge decorative panel that was created by the once well-known artist, Mr. Duncan Carse and “Speed” is its main theme. It depicts the cliffs and scenery of England in a modernised form leading right across the waters to the other side where is found the vegetation peculiar to New Zealand. It is symbolic of wind, sound, light and electricity. The artist considered this to be his final work and a masterpiece, and it formed a magnificent addition to the wonderful room of this great liner of the past!

The portside of the Lounge looking aft

2… Drawing Room:

The Drawing Room located just aft of the lounge on the port side was a very different venue, for it had a completely different atmosphere that gave an impression of refinement and simplicity. The entire exterior length of the room consisted of large windows providing ample light.

The venue featured a Mural on the inner wall by F. A. Staynes in a greyish green monochrome. However, the most original feature was the a moulded green glass chimney-piece set in a large brilliant cut grey mirror, flanked by ribbed pilasters, as can be seen on the forward wall below.

The Drawing Room was far more charming than this image would reveal!

The large windows were dressed with white quilted satin dress curtains and silky nets giving it a modern French feeling by the way they were draped. The room had plus sofas and easy chairs as well as tables and chairs made from rich walnut, whilst the venue had concealed lighting in the centre domed ceiling.

3… Writing Room:

Also directly aft of the Lounge, but on the starboard side was the Writing Room, which was a delightfully quiet and a restful room. Like many of the ships venues there was a semi dome in the ceiling, be it an oblong one that featured concealed lighting, although the wall did have two lights and a feature clock in the middle. The room was panelled in Peroba, with banding in Paldas which is quite an unusual combination, but very pleasing with the luxurious bleached walnut furniture, that harmonises with the Peroba panelling. Her chairs upholstery where in blue and silver patterns making the venue very pleasing indeed.

The Writing Room

4… Smoking Room:

This room was certainly intended to be “Period” in design, recalling the sixteenth century and the atmosphere of an old Tudor Mansion. It featured a Fireplace in rough plaster with its broad stone chimney, red brick raise hearth and cosy corner seats are all seen at their best against the silver oak panelling.


Above & below: the magnificent Smoking Room that had an atmosphere of its own, for you entered another world

and that is simply no longer found on ships today. The image below shows the room when it was completed


Besides the rich tapestries there were also genuine Persian Rugs and fine furniture, all aided by windows on both sides being of leaded tinted glass with heraldic devices, as well as shields of coats of arms, providing the room with a wealth of colour and interest, all adding “Period” style to the Room.

The ceiling was made of oak beamed with painted panes at the port and starboard sides. Electric light fitting also was unique as they were of hand crafted wrought steel. There were four ceiling fittings each incorporate three shields, and there were also a number of candelabra wall fittings.

5… Verandah & Cinema:

We have now arrived at the last venue on Lounge Deck and it just happens to be a rather special one! The Verandah was without a doubt the widest room on the entire ship that is apart from the Bridge, for the Verandah stretched from one side to the other and we need to remember that the superstructure was wider than the ships hull!

The Verandah van be described in several ways, as “A room with a view” and she certainly offered that for she offered sixteen huge windows at the sides of the ship, as well as her entire aft was glass windows, some of which opened, but this venue provided a magnificent view over the ships stern, as well as her Swimming Pool below on Promenade Deck.

Remember the palms are still missing in this the Verandah and Cinema

The venue was furnishes mostly with cane tables and chairs with walls painted in soft colours with plant life painted on the walls high up. There is a bandstand and room is made for a dance floor. But this venue also is used as the ships cinema as the projection room is located up on Games Deck, but it has it projector located in the ceiling of this room. Unseen in the photograph above is the palms that were the main feature in this delightful happy and tropical venue!

Games Deck:

Topside is this spacious deck that had a length of 76.2m - 250ft and 26.4m - 86.6ft wide, which is ideal for relaxation and games. Although this ship offered her guests so many great comforts, but during those long sea stretches, let say across the Indian Ocean, some time up o Games Deck playing a game or two would be fun! There was Deck Tennis, Croquet and not to forget the ever popular Quoits.

As you can see up on Games Deck, there is space enough to play a game or two

For protection against the rays of the sun whilst in the tropics canvas awnings were placed at a suitable height covering the entire deck, as well as see trough side screen to protect guests from cross winds. We need to remember that this was an all First Class luxury Liner!

Passenger Accommodations:

As built the Dominion Monarch offered accommodations for 525 First Class passengers with accommodations offered on Promenade, A and B Decks. Cabins were available in the following configurations, two twin bedded Deluxe Suites and cabins. Then there were two berth and three berth cabins, but also 159 single bed cabins, which was a large number for a large ship with such a low number of passengers. The three berth cabins, the third berth was provided with a Pullman bed. The two suites and thirty-six cabins had private facilities, whilst all other cabins had washbasins with hot and cols running water and high quality facilities close at hand. Cabins were fitted with ample wardrobes for the long voyage as well as drawer space. And suitcases would be stored in the luggage room nearby, that would be open on a daily basis. All cabins were fitted with a telephone an d all were outside having

1… Deluxe Suites:

There were two suites on the Dominion Monarch, both located on Promenade Deck, between the forward and stairwell’s, with the one on the portside being named the Empire Suite and the other on the starboard side was named the Dominion Suite.

These suites consisted of a Lobby, Bathroom and a spacious Sitting Room and Bedroom. Their décor were considered as being quiet, yet distinctive in character. Their walls were relatively plain, but painted in refined tones. The walls of one suite had the very palest of pink, whilst the other being duck egg blue, and it was relieved with decorative hand wrought metalwork, serving as covers for the panels of the radiators (that looked like a tall plant) and for the bedroom windows.

On the floors there were off-white deep pile carpets providing the perfect background to set off the furnishings and fabrics. The venue featured the famed “Okoumi furniture” that included the cabinets, timber chairs and small coffee table. Then there were the luxurious upholstered window seats and easy chairs, all of which made the Sitting Rooms the essence of comfort! At night this venue was illuminated by perfectly concealed lighting.

The Sitting Room of one of the Suites

The bedrooms offered twin beds offering Vi-Spring mattresses, being the best on the market then, and distinctive furniture and other fittings which were very modern for the day, but all combining the character of grace and utility!

2… Cabins:

All cabins were well fitted out with high quality fittings, each bed offered the very best availably, such as Vi-Spring mattresses, and furnishings were in the finest of timbers, such as a bedside cabinet, a dressing table as well as a pull out writing table for the passenger’s convenience, as well all the required essentials ensuring the passengers comfort. This included an excellent ventilation system available at the time that continually provided fresh air throughout all the accommodations. All passenger staterooms were fitted with a supply of ventilation that provided abundant changes of air through the well-known Pukah Louvre system, that had forces air and the ventilation of the air could be controlled by the passengers in whichever direction they desired it to blow. Whilst heating was taken care o through the Thermo Air Flo convector system that provides good warmth without the use of fans.

A higher-grade single bedded cabin amidships on Promenade Deck

All beds and furniture for the ships accommodations were made at the Wallsend Yard, and timbers from “around the Dominion” were used, with different woods for different decks. Promenade Deck staterooms featured furnishings made from Australian Maple or Black Bean, which toned in with in with the other decorations in the staterooms. On A Deck the timbers for its staterooms were Australian Maple or Australian Walnut, whilst on B Deck each room featured African mahogany.

A three-berth cabin seen on B Deck, although it is only made up as a twin bedded room




Remembering the most Wonderful and Largest Motor Passenger-Cargo Liner ever to be Built


Shaw Savill & Albion Line Co Ltd

QSMV Dominion Monarch


A fine painting of the Dominion Monarch by New Zealand’s Maritime Artist Mr. Wallace Trickett

Visit Wallace Trickett’s website at -





Page One:……..QSMV Dominion Monarch’s History Page.


Page Two:……..Interior Photo Page from the Builder.


Page Three:…..Memorabilia Page.


Page Four:……..Ship layouts dated February 1939.


Also read about other Shaw Savill ships on

SS Southern Cross - SS Corinthic-Athenic-Ceramic & Gothic


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I watched then come, I watched them go, and I watched them die.”



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