By AUSTIN LYONS After many years of labour and preparation by the Apostleship of the Sea, the new £50,000 Atlantic House, Liverpool, goes into service for seamen this week-end. It will be formally opened by the Duchess of Kent on Saturday.
It is one of the finest and most :aastly recreational and residential :entres in the country.
Nothing has been spared in iesign, space and amenities. Everything a seaman needs when he comes ashore is here just for the asking.
The centre is open to all seafarers irrespective of race or creed.
A feature of the palatial entrance hall is the floor itself, carried out in Appaladian marble with the insignia "Apostolatus Maris" worked in coloured mosaic.
The spacious ballroom, which is of a blue modern design, has a lighting system which is unique. It consists of the new fluorescent tubular lighting, which is installed to hang vertically from the roof.
There are three port Chaplains. Frs, G. J. Waring, J. J. O'Connor and C. Kane.
There are numerous attendants, cooks, waitresses and officials and some four hundred hostesses, who voluntarily minister to the comfort and entertainment of the seamen. This band of girls specially selected, have come from the Catholic sodalities in the Liverpool area.
Each evening after a day's work in office, workshop or city store, these girls will come to Atlantic House to partner men at the dances, to serve with refreshments, to darn, to sew, in a word, to make home.
The oratory is as spacious as any other part of the building and several maritime symbols have been incorporated in its design.
Two sanctuary lamps made in the form of a ship hang on each side of the sanctuary. A painting of the Madonna and Child with the infant holding a small sailing ship. over looks the altar. The base of the altar is so carved as to give the impression of rippling waves, whilst the badge of the Apostleship of the Sea In red, white and gold occupies the central position of the altar.
A monstrance has been specially designed for use in the oratory, and a precedent has been made by the inclusion of colour as added decoration. Of enormous proportion, it is nearly three feet in height.
SEAMEN'S UTOPIA A circle of heavy rope in gold embraces the whole design which is surmounted by the badge of the Apostleship of the Sea.
At the base of the monstrance stand, an aperture is cut, from which emerges a small statue of Our Lady Queen of the Seas. standing at the helm of a small boat.
Atlantic House is truly a seafarers' Utopia, catering for their spiritual, material and domestic welfare, and in due time will surely become the Mecca of all seafarers at Northern ports.