Cherbourg’s Hôtel Atlantique was built by Cunard, White Star Line and Red Star Line.
The three maritime companies (Cunard, White Star Line and Red Line) created a limited company with the objective of building and managing an emigration centre capable of dealing with the volume of emigrants in Cherbourg. René Levavasseur, future architect of the Transatlantic Passenger Terminal, designed the Hôtel Atlantique in Cherbourg, a building of 5,400 m² including infrastructures for accommodation and sanitary checks. The first section was inaugurated in 1922 and the works were completed in 1924.
With a capacity to cater for and lodge 2,500 people per day, the Hôtel Atlantique in Cherbourg was fitted out with all the latest equipment needed to meet American health and hygiene requirements.
Hygiene measures imposed on emigrants in Cherbourg’s hotels
Two doctors’ surgeries were located on the ground floor of Cherbourg’s Hôtel Atlantique: one for men and the other for women. Emigrants first went via the baggage room where their packages were meticulously inspected then sent off to the disinfection department. They were each given two bags: one for their clothes, the other for their belongings. They were then asked to take a shower and underwent a preliminary medical examination during which time their clothes were steamed. Each of them received a bar of petroleum soap. Emigrants’ hair was inspected particularly carefully to check for contagious disease-carrying parasites. They underwent several medical examinations and were systematically vaccinated before being transferred to the disinfected quarters of the hotel.
There were two dining halls in the building catering for 250 and 800 people respectively. There were also two kitchens: one Catholic, the other Jewish as the Jews passing through Cherbourg continued to follow the rites of their religion. Dormitories on the upper floors awaited the emigrants who would pass the night facing the sea…
The Royal Mail’s Hotel New-York
Hotel New-York in Cherbourg was located in the Roule district in Cherbourg. It was built by the Royal Mail alongside the railway lines and was used mainly to accommodate emigrants leaving for South America. Each year, an average of 15,000 emigrants used the building.