TS Queen Mary
Welcome to the internet's leading source
of Queen Mary information and photographs
part of the Clyde Turbine Steamers website from paddlesteamers.info - the internet's leading paddle steamer information and photograph database
Queen Mary as most will now remember her : as a floating pub / restaurant moored at Waterloo Bridge, London from 1988 to 2009 (photo : 2007)
Click here for the official website. The Friends of TS Queen Mary charity's latest news can be found on facebook by clicking here
FUNDING WILL CONTINUE TO BE REQUIRED TO START ON HER REFURBISHMENT FOR USE AS A HERITAGE ATTRACTION ON THE GLASGOW WATERFRONT
A BT MyDonate page was set up in early January 2016 to ease on-line giving. This site allows the charity to get all your donation without any commissions and with a minimal fee (15p) for debit card donations and a 1.3% charge for credit card donations. The MyDonate operation also claims Gift Aid on behalf of the charity where the instruction is given (worth an extra 25% to the charity from HM Revenue and Customs in qualifying cases). MyDonate is probably the most cost-effective site for charitable giving and owes its existence to BT plc's corporate charitable activities. Paypal payments are also available as well as cheque, bank transfer etc. Go direct to the donation page : Click here
Saved from her fate in recent years first by Samuel Boudon and then Ranjan Chowdhury, but with both unable to follow through on proposed projects, the ship now looks to have an assured future with a charitable preservation Trust in what was, during her working life, her home port - Glasgow, but only subject to the success of a currently open appeal to secure the funds to return her to Glasgow. The project has the support of Glasgow City Council and numerous Scottish parliamentarians. The charity has celebrity patronage and maritime experts amongst its trustees. It does require as broad as possible support from the interested public as well to ensure the project is a resounding success - see the charity's website and facebook page on the links below for more details
A remarkable past and now a unique survivor : Queen Mary is one the finest excursion steamers ever built and was one of a fleet of steam turbine powered ships which brought a unique brand of speed, smoothness, quietness and a new level of comfort to day trips on Scotland's beautiful Firth of Clyde, sailing from 1933 until 1977. She has a remarkable historical pedigree as yard-mate and fleet-mate of TS King Edward, the world's first passenger turbine ship and is now the last ship of her type anywhere in the world. Her contribution to the social history of the city of Glasgow is considerable and she has the added interest of being the "original" Queen Mary, which lent her name to the Cunard-White Star company for their iconic ocean liner in 1934 (see "A Ship With Historical Significance" below for more).
Recent history : After 20 years moored in central London and what seemed in the secure hands of a major brewing and hospitality company, the ship was put up for sale in 2008 as she was required to vacate her prestige central London berth. The ship was sold to a French businessman, Samuel Boudon, an executive in the luxury yacht-building sector who had hoped to establish her as a hotel and fitness centre in his home town of La Rochelle. Queen Mary languished at Tilbury as it became clear from the French end that the project could not be followed through on and the ship would need to be sold. At the ship's auction in August 2011 there were no buyers and she was at real risk until Ranjan Chowdhury subsequently stepped in to save the vessel from what would most likely have been her scrapping. Mr Chowdhury worked hard to try and find an operational future for her, particularly as a luxury cruising vessel, but financing of such a project always appeared to be little more than a remote possibility and with no prospect of progress on the project, he had no option other than to relinquish the ship. A charitable organisation the Friends of TS Queen Mary were subsequently able to purchase the ship as announced in the press through the Sunday Mail on 25th October 2015 Click on this link to see the newspaper article
The Friends of TS Queen Mary : This organisation, which has charitable status, was established by a group of those who hoped that the ship could be returned to her home river, the Clyde. The charity trustees have been working hard to ensure that a return to Glasgow would be possible if the ship was one again put up for sale, which in the absence of any official developments always appeared a strong possibility. Their aim is to see her established as an educational and historical attraction for the benefit of the city with self-generated funding coming from functions, weddings and exhibitions. A return to any operational service would appear to be out of the question.
Click here for the official website. The Friends latest news can be found on facebook by clicking here
SPECIFICATIONS AND HISTORY
Built in 1933 by Wm. Denny & Bros. at Dumbarton, Scotland (yard no. 1262)
Dimensions : 263 ft 4 in x 37 ft x 7 ft 6 in (80.26 m x 11.28 m x 2.29 m)
Engines : 3 direct drive turbines (1 x HP, 2 x LP also for reversing : 800 RPM 3800 - horsepower)
Boilers : Scotch double-ended (as built) - replaced in 1957 with Yarrow water-tube oil fired boiler
Gross Registered Tonnage : 870 (as built) then 1014 (after reboilering in 1957)
- Built for Williamson-Buchanan Steamers Ltd for their Clyde services from Bridge Wharf, Glasgow
- Keel laid : 9th December 1932
- Launched : 30th March 1933, naming ceremony conducted by Lady Colquhoun
- Trials : 15th May 1933, achieving 19.696 knots
- Entered service : 20th May 1933
- Understood to have cost GBP 61,805 and 16/9d - equating to approximately GBP 3 million in currency terms of 2010.
- Twin funnels exhausing a Scotch-type boiler were painted in Williamson-Buchanan colours, white with black tops
- Unusually for a Clyde Steamer, first class accommodation was at the forward end of the vessel (lounge on promeande deck, restaurant on main deck)
- Normal weekday schedule was to leave Glasgow at 10:00 hrs for Dunoon and Rothesay, with a range of onward non-landing cruises
- Saturdays saw her leave Glasgow at 13:45 for Dunoon, Rothesay and the Kyles of Bute
Renaming then joining the Caledonian
- Renamed Queen Mary II in 1935 to allow her name to be used for the new Cunard liner.
- Presented with a portrait of HRH Queen Mary which hung in the forward lounge by the Cunard company in appreciation
- Williamson-Buchanan (1935) Ltd established in October 1935 as her owners became a subsidiary of the Caledonian Steam Packet Co.
- Only took the yellow and black funnel colours of the CSP in December 1939 and was finally registered as owned by that company in 1943
- Remained on the Clyde throughout the Second World War sporting a range of (mostly grey) camouflage liveries.
- Wartime duties involved ferry work between Gourock and Dunoon and tendering military and troop-transporting ships including RMS Queen Mary
- Enclosed wheelhouse fitted in 1948
- First and third class areas were abolished in 1950 and all accommodation became available to all passengers
- Mainmast fitted in 1954 to meet new safety regulations - and new cafeteria facilities installed in the same year
- Converted to an oil burning Yarrow water-tube boiler in early 1957 when one large elliptical funnel replaced her two funnels
- Radar installed in 1960.
- Masts shortened in 1969 so that she could sail under the new Kingston Bridge on which a new motorway ran through Glasgow
- After the 1969 season, Glasgow sailings were withdrawn and she sailed out of Gourock
- Refitted in 1971 and undertook sailings as far as Campbeltown and Inveraray, in succession to the withdrawn turbine Duchess of Hamilton
- Lost her bow rudder in a collision with US tug Natick in July 1972 off the Cloch lighthouse and sailed for the remainder of the season with twisted bow plates
Back to her old name for two seasons
- Her original name was restored in 1976 after Cunard's Queen Mary was removed from the register.
- In her later years, sailings to and from Glasgow were restored
- Withdrawn in 1977 after local government tourist development grants were withdrawn and given to support the paddle steamer Waverley.
- Her final cruise was an evening "Showboat" cruise from Largs to Rothesay and through the Kyles of Bute on September 12th 1977.
- Earlier that day she had sailed light from Gourock to Largs then took a public cruise via Rothesay and Dunoon into Loch Long then back light from Largs to Gourock
- Laid-up at East India Harbour, Greenock
- Sold to Glasgow District Council in June 1978 for GBP 30,000
- Plans to develop her as a maritime museum on the Clyde collapsed as budgets were cut by a new incoming government.
- Sold to Euroyachts Ltd for use as a floating restaurant at Anderston Quay, Glasgow, for GBP 17,000 in May 1980
- In 1981, after eight months with Euroyachts she was sold to the Lau family restaurant company Tesright Ltd for GBP 40,000
- Left the Clyde on 29th January 1981 under tow to King George V Dock, London, arriving on 2nd February. The tug was MV Pullwell Delta
- Damaged by fire during refitting. Laid up.
- Sold to brewers Bass-Charrington (Toby Restaurants Division) in 1987 to replace her former Clyde fleetmate PS Caledonia, which was lost to fire in 1980.
- Refitted at the Crescent Shipyard, Chatham with new funnels, masts, companionways and bulkheads. The total cost was estimated at GBP 2 million
- Warren Smith Architects involved in the design work.
- Moved from Chatham Historic Dockyard on July 29th 1988 under tow by Warrior (skippered by Ron Livett), Triton and Sir Aubrey of Warrior Towage Ltd.
The Embankment, London
- Moored alongside the Embankment on the north bank of the Thames immediately upstream from Waterloo Bridge with her bows pointing upstream
- She was understood to have been the largest vessel to have reached this far upstream
- Soon after arrival her white and black funnels aquired two red bands separated by a white band with a thin black line around the centre of the white band.
- Received a major refurbishment in 1997 at Chatham at a reported cost of GBP 2.5 million and reappeared with buff funnels with black tops.
- In 2005 her upper works were painted light blue, her ventilators being buff to match the funnel
- In February 2006 the blue was overpainted with brilliant white. White funnels with black tops were restored, now featuring a "QM" inscription
- Closed for business in January 2009 and sold in April 2009 by Mitchells & Butlers plc, successors to the Bass Retail Leisure organisation
- The issue was forced by a requirement for her berth for an extended riverbus pier development at Savoy Pier
- Sold to a private consortium headed by Mr Samuel Boudon with plans to convert her for use as a floating hotel at La Rochelle, France.
- Left London under tow on 9th November 2009 for Tilbury Dock by the tug Aicirtron (again skippered by Ron Livett) assisted by Horton and Unico
- By the summer of 2011 the La Rochelle project was cancelled and the ship remained laid-up at Tilbury as the buyer unsuccessfully sought to negotiate a sale
- Auctioned at short notice in August 2011 and failed to sell
- Sold by negotiation to a UK-based private buyer, Ranjan Chowdhury, in September 2011.
- Purchased by the Scottish charitable organisation Friends of TS Queen Mary in October 2015 for a reported sum of GBP 20,000
A SHIP WITH HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
A genuine "last of" : The importance and uniqueness of ships can often be overstated
and it is wrong to make too many claims to fame for any ships, but in the 21st
century we are now seeing quite a few "last ofs" and Queen Mary
can claim one of these as well as a strong direct link to a fleet-mate which
really was a "first of" of her type worldwide
- Direct derivative and fleet mate of the world's first ever steam turbine powered passenger ship, TS King Edward (1901-1951).
- The last passenger-only turbine steamer in operation built as a coastal and estuarine day excursion ship
- The last surviving
example of her class worldwide and one of the few remaining examples of
a passenger ship of any class built with steam turbines
Glasgow's boat : Her importance to the social history of Glasgow and the Firth of Clyde should not be underestimated. She followed her predecessors by being primarily based in the centre of Glasgow and ferrying many hundreds of thousands of its citizens to the Clyde resorts for day trips and for their annual holidays. Going "doon the watter" was one of the timeless aspects of industrial Glasgow's life - a rare chance to escape the city for the fresh air and beautiful scenery of the Firth in a ship built in one of the area's most famous shipyards.
The original Queen Mary : She has, of course, the curiousity value of being the "original" Queen Mary and holding the name that the Cunard line wished for its new ocean liner, which went on to become one of the world's most famous ships. The grudging agreement of her owners saw the name go to the Clydebank-built liner which is now preserved in Long Beach, California, whilst the Clyde steamer became the first "Queen Mary II" (strictly speaking, slightly different to Queen Mary 2) until recovering her original name in 1976. On display in her forward saloon was a portrait of HRH Queen Mary, wife of HRH King George V, gifted by the Cunard company in appreciation (click here to see photo). In addition, a brass plaque was presented which recorded the details of the event (click here to see photo).
here for more
about Queen Mary's connection with the famous Cunard ocean liner
Efforts to establish her as a museum ship go back to 1977 : In 1977 she was purchased by Glasgow District Council to be the centre-piece of a proposed maritime museum. (see press reports in the Glasgow Herald on this link). The then Director of Museums, Trevor Walden, told the Glasgow Herald, "We would benefit enormously from such a facility and the ship would bring new interest and life to the quay. It could provide accommodation for exhibitions and possibly space to develop an art rental service. It might also provide catering facilities". The council was aware of the additional uses the space aboard could be used for and clearly saw her as a major attraction for their riverside redevelopments. However funding was withdrawn after a change of national government and the ship was sold for commercial use and the opportunity to save her for the nation was lost. Read more. In 2009 she was offered to Glasgow Museums once again, this time free of charge, but times had changed and she did not fit in with plans for the new Riverside Museum.
IN PHOTOS : QUEEN MARY FROM 1933 UNTIL THE PRESENT DAY
end of 1935 this hitherto independent company, itself a merger of two private
fleets, was absorbed by the Caledonian Steam Packet Company, the subsidiary
of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. From 1936 until 1943, the Williamson-Buchanan
vessels remained in a CSP subsidiary, Williamson-Buchanan (1936) Ltd.
As Williamson-Buchanan had no connection with the railway companies whose fleets dominated the Clyde and owned the piers with railheads, they had traditionally concentrated on "all-the-way" sailings to the coastal resorts from Central Glasgow - a longer day out, but traditionally cheaper for passengers. Queen Mary brought unheard of luxury to what had traditionally been the poor relation of Clyde services and remained closely associated with this route throughout her career.
Photos by kind courtesy of Richard Lane of sales agents and auctioneers, Capital Boats / Capital Marine Auctions
Turbines removed - two donated to the Science Museum, London and one retained on the vessel and originally displayed in the lower deck cocktail bar with a propellor directly attached.
One turbine remains with the Science Museum and his held at their large item storage facility at Wroughton, Wilts and can only be seen by appointment.
One is now at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine and has been stored outside but is due (in 2010) to be taken inside for restoration and display.
The webmaster is unclear about the current location of the third turbine which had not been on display aboard for many years.
The new owners have indicated to me that to their knowledge it is not aboard, although there are other indications it might remain concealed in a storage area.
Can anyone confirm ?
26 of Denny's original ship plans relating to yard Number 1262 are held in the archive of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
Click here for more details regarding the specific plans available
Manager, Historic Photographs and Ship Plans
Tel: +44 (0)20 8312 8600
Fax: +44 (0)20 8317 0263
Ship Plans Website: www.nmm.ac.uk/shipplans
QUEEN MARY'S CAPTAINS
1933-1943 Donald McKinnon
1944-1946 Fergus Murdoch
1946-1946 John McGlashan
1947-1954 James Ramsay
1955-1955 Walter Lennox
1956-1959 Mick Brophy
1960-1970 John Cameron
1971-1975 David McCormick
1976-1977 Callum MacLean
Entry in Lloyds Register for 1933-34
More about the ship's interesting connection with the famous Cunard ocean liner Queen Mary
Queen Mary's regular Clyde roster in the 1969 season
Examples of reports in the local press, 1977-1981
Vessel History Brochure by David Griffiths available on board in 1988
(Rotate anti-clockwise for best viewing once pdf file is opened)
Text of Offers for Sale 2008/9 through Colliers CRE and Capital Boats
More about the project to establish her as a hotel and fitness centre at La Rochelle in France
The webmaster's 2011 press and TV awareness campaign
to Ron Livett, Thames "waterman" and tugmaster - 2012
A view from the USA : Shawn Dake from California, submitted this report of a trip on Queen Mary in 1977 to the magazine Steamboat Bill, the journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America and it was published in winter, 1978. Shawn has since become a well-known author and campaigner on various matters of maritime history and contributes articles regularly to the Maritime Matters website amongst others. Many thanks to Shawn for retrieving the article from the archive and allowing it to be reproduced here. Click to view as pdf file
For more about Queen Mary's owners, paddle steamer fleetmates and the Clyde in the 1930s when she was introduced, go to the historical database section of the paddlesteamers.info website
Aboard Queen Mary II : a Purser's Life on the Glasgow Boat
: by Richard Orr
ISBN-10: 1845300734 ISBN-13: 978-1845300739 First published 2011
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Denny's yard at Dumbarton was one of the most famous of the Clyde shipyards, even if it was located just off the Clyde on the River Leven and tucked behind the imposing rock outcrop housing Dumbarton Castle. Established in 1840 by Peter Denny but better known as William Denny and Bros. the company built a range of vessels, from Clyde Steamers up to naval warships, and by pioneering steam turbine technology it established a strong position in the cross-channel ferry market. The company survived until 1963 when it went into liquidation. The site of the yard has been cleared, but much remains undeveloped as shown in this photo taken in 2011 and kindly supplied by Kenny Whyte. The car park to the right adjoins the new ground of Dumbarton Football Club which is now on reclaimed former shipyard land.
MORE CLYDE STEAMERS ..............
Gordon Stewart is a paddle steamer and
tramway photographer and promotes paddle steamers through the paddlesteamers.info website
Gordon Stewart can be contacted on this link
This is an unofficial website, not connected in any way with past or present owners of the Queen Mary.
Any views expressed are those of the webmaster only unless otherwise attributed.
All photographs displayed are with the permission of the acknowledged photographer but are not to be copied for re-use for any other website or publication without the specific authorisation of the photographer. You are welcome to use the text from this website as a research source and basis for your own work but it should not be copied and republished elsewhere verbatim or only slightly altered.
All material is Tramscape and Gordon Stewart or the individual photographer where acknowledged. Photos not otherwised attributed are by Gordon Stewart
ASSOCIATED WEBSITES from Tramscape
Tramscape Tramway Cities
has a collection of over 24,000 photographs of 124 mainly European
street tramways taken from 1980 until the present day (as at April 2016).
Just as paddle steamers add something extra to a boat trip, modern tramway systems add something special to the cities in which they operate. Not only do they provide an efficient and reliable mass transport system - they make moving around cities easy and comfortable. They also add to the cityscape making excellent photographs possible