TS Queen Mary 

part of the Clyde Turbine Steamers website from Gordon Stewart's paddlesteamers.info 

Above : Queen Mary at Princes Dock basin, Glasgow, on 20th May 2017 (Photo by Kenny Whyte). With the air conditioning units and ice cream bar on the observation deck aft now removed she is now recognisably much closer to her 1948-1956 profile

After years of uncertainty, the ship now looks to have an assured future in the ownership of a charitable preservation Trust in what was, during her working life, her home port - Glasgow. The charity has widespread  support, royal and celebrity patronage and maritime, education and tourism experts amongst its trustees.

A ship with a remarkable historical importance as the last survivor of her class worldwide : 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 was particularly associated with sailings direct to the Firth of Clyde from Glasgow city centre. 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 representative of this type anywhere in the world. Regrettably, her machinery was removed in 1988. Her contribution to the social history of the city of Glasgow is considerable and she has the added interest of being the ship 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), sailing for most of her life as Queen Mary II.

For seven years her survival hung in the balance : After 20 years moored in central London and, it seemed, in the secure hands of a major brewing and hospitality company, the ship was put up for sale in 2008. With no buyers in the "trade", the local authorities gave notice on the lease for her berth at Waterloo Bridge to develop a pier for Thames waterbuses. Queen Mary 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 and 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 auction in August 2011 there were no buyers and she was at real risk of being scrapped until Ranjan Chowdhury subsequently stepped in to purchase her. Mr Chowdhury worked hard to try and find a future for her, but financing of such a project always appeared to be little more than a remote possibility. With no prospect of progress, he had no option other than to relinquish the ship in 2015. The Friends of TS Queen Mary, established in 2011 by enthusiasts who had been keeping an eye on the ship's plight since 2009 had, in the meantime, formulated a plan to preserve her under charitable ownership should she become available for sale. They were able to step in and their purchase of the vessel was announced on 25th October 2015. 


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 worked 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 apparent 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. 

Charity Registered on 4th December 2012 : Number SC043623

The charity now has royal patronage in the gracious support of HRH The Princess Royal as well as having the well-known actor Sam Neill as patron. Until his death in 2022, the patron was Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane OBE. The charity has been successful in attracting corporate sponsorship both in terms of cash and materials and has a close relationship with Glasgow College which specialises in training for the maritime industry. A number of well-respected professionals in a range of fields form a strong Board of Trustees to oversee the ship's future, which would appear rosy based on a business plan found to be robust by a major international accounting and consultancy firm. Private donations as well as volunteer work have been essential elements in funding the ship's refurbishmentbut the majority of investment has been given "in kind" by supportive companies and organisations.

On 11th March 2021, HRH The Princess Royal announced the intention of the Trustees to return the ship to operational service - and goal towards which a significant amount of work is being undertaken  




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) (Removed, two preserved, third originally exhibited aboard)

Boilers : Scotch double-ended (as built) - replaced in 1957 with Yarrow water-tube oil fired boiler (Removed)

Gross Registered Tonnage : 870 (as built) then 1014 (after reboilering in 1957)


Early Years
- 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-White Star 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 by Barclay, Curle. One large elliptical funnel incorporating ventilation replaced her two funnels
- Radar installed in 1960.
- Livery change in 1965 to "monastral" blue hulls of British Rail, but retained the Caley's yellow funnel - albeit with red lions rampant fitted to the sides
- 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 from Bridge Wharf were withdrawn (with the new bridge still unfinished) and she then sailed out of Gourock
- Black hull colouring restored in 1970
- Extensively refitted and facilities rearranged in early 1971 and placed on a wider range of excursion sailings following the withdrawal of TS Duchess of Hamilton
- Lost her (unreplaced) bow rudder in a collision with US navy tug Natick in July 1972 in fog off the Cloch - sailed for the rest of the season with twisted bow plates

- Funnel repainted in Caledonian-MacBrayne red  (incorporating the yellow disc and red lions rampant of the CSP) for the 1973 season
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 1976, sailings to and from Glasgow (which had proven popular with passengers of the paddle steamer Waverley) were restored
- Withdrawn in 1977 having had poor loadings and after local government tourist development grants were withdrawn in favour of the 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

- Short-lived informal enthusiast group Friends of Queen Mary established (Note : no connection with the current Friends' charity)
- 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
- Without progress, the National Trust for Scotland showed interest in the ship for use as offices and an educational centre
- In 1981, after eight months with Euroyachts she was sold to the Lau family restaurant company Tesright Ltd for GBP 40,000

London Docklands
- 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.

Chatham Dock
- Refitted by the Crescent Shipyard Co, at Chatham No2 dock arriving on 28th December 1987.
- Fully stipped down and opened out. Fitted 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
- Unsuccessfully offered for sale in the licensing trade as a going concern (including berthing rights) in 2008 -
original asking price 249,500
- City of Westminster Council exercised a 6-month notice period on the lease to develop Thames riverbus service facilities at Savoy Pier
- Closed for business in January 2009
- Reoffered for general sale with requirement to remove the vessel at price of 154,950
- 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.

Tilbury Dock
- Left London
for Tilbury Dock under tow by the tug Aicirtron (again skippered by Ron Livett) assisted by Horton and Unico on 9th November 2009
- By the summer of 2011 the La Rochelle project was cancelled and the ship remained laid-up at Tilbury as the owner unsuccessfully sought to negotiate a sale
- Auctioned at short notice in August 2011 with guide price of 150-200,000 but 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 20,000
- A public appeal was launched to allow her to be made fit for and to finance a tow to Scotland, where her permanent home is planned to be

Greenock & Glasgow
- Left Tilbury under tow of tug Venture of the Carmet Tug Company under captain Brett Metcalfe on May 11th 2016
- Arrived at James Watt Dock, Greenock, on May 15th, 2016 assisted into the dock by Clyde Marine Services' Bruiser and Battler
- After a further fundraising appeal, she entered dry dock in Greenock on September 1st 2016 for full attention to her hull and painting of her hull and upperworks
- Returned to the James Watt dock alongside the dry dock on October 1st 2016
- Towed to Glasgow for winter lay-up in the Princes Dock basin behind the Science Centre on 9th November 2016 
- Funnels painted yellow with black tops (Feb 2017) to reflect earlier CSP Co. colours. Overpainted with buff shade at end of Aug 2018 after criticism of the yellow shade
- Physical work undertaken to strip out redundant fittings and the coverings of the teak decks (dating from the 1997 refit) removed
- On going work to restore or replace degraded parts of the ship's fabric including restoration of the teak decking and new promenade deck windows
- On March 11th 2019 it was announced that HRH The Princess Royal had become the Royal Patron of the charity
- On June 6th 2019 she was towed to Greenock for a dry-docking
- On March 11th 2022 HRH the Princess Royal, visiting the ship, told assembled guest was that the plan was now to return the ship to active service as a cadet ship
- In 2023 the ship was moved across the neck of the Princes Dock basin to a berth alongside the Govan Graving Docks for major renovation works to commence following an anymous donation of 1 million
- On June 8th 2023 the funnels were removed as the first visible stage of this renovation. They will be replaced by funnels of the original size and rake as built in 1933                                              


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

Please note that steam turbines became widely used in marine engineering, particularly short-sea ferries, ocean liners and military ships - examples of which survived in survice long after Queen Mary was decomissioned. However, no passenger ships now survive in service anywhere  

The "original" Queen Mary : Although not the first ship to have been called Queen Mary, she has the curiousity value of  holding the name that the Cunard-White Star line needed 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 so as to avoid an unacceptable duplication of names on the shipping register. The liner is now preserved in Long Beach, California, whilst the Clyde steamer became  "Queen Mary II"  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. In addition, a brass plaque was presented which recorded the details of the event.
Click here for more about Queen Mary's connection with the famous Cunard ocean liner Queen Mary


Queen Mary's importance to the social history of Glasgow and the Firth of Clyde should not be underestimated. She was primarily based in the centre of Glasgow, 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.

Queen Mary's original owner, Williamson-Buchanan Steamers Ltd was formed by the amalgamation two private fleets and dominated sailings to the Clyde resorts  from the heart of the city of Glasgow (with calls normally at Govan and Renfrew in pre-second world war years). It was a longer sail but at a cheaper price than the steamers owned by the railway companies which connected with their rail services to piers on the Clyde coast. Queen Mary was remarkable to the extent that she brought unheard-of luxury to this service because "all-the-way" boats from Glasgow had tended to be utilitarian. She took the prime cruise roster, relegating the pioneering turbine steamer King Edward (of 1901, a flyer for sure, which was acquired in 1927 for this service) to the later Kyles of Bute run, with a number of older paddle steamers providing additional runs to Dunoon and Rothesay.

Above : For much of her career, Queen Mary (II) sailed from Bridge Wharf on the south bank of the Clyde not far from the city centre. The Clyde was a working river with busy shipyards, quays and warehousing. In the photo taken around 1960 and kindly supplied by Gillon Ferguson this can be clearly seen as the river is lined by warehouses and Bridge Wharf hardly looked like an attractive departure point for tourists. In the mid 19th century the river was severely polluted, but by 1960, the health hazards once facing passengers were no longer a problem and the upper part of the river still had much of interest to see as the ship sailed towards more attractive scenery. 

Below : Even in the 1970s there were occasions when the crowds thronged the ship although the car-ferry links to Rothesay were better than ever and in her final years, as Cal-Mac's last remaining traditional cruise ship, she saw further-flung piers more frequently than she had done in her heyday. However, at the end of the 1969 season, sailings from Glasgow were abandoned and not reintroduced until 1976. In this view by Kenny Whyte it was the Bute Highland Games which brought the trippers out in such numbers. Rothesay and trips "doon the watter" remained popular but the costs of running and maintaining a large ageing steamship began to weigh increasingly on hard-pressed finances at Caledonian-MacBrayne - and despite all expectations, paddle steamer Waverley, independently owned after her withdrawal at the end of the 1973 season, returned to service in 1975 to chase a share of the business - and for two seasons (1976 and 1977) both Queen Mary and Waverley fought for customers from Glasgow.


Photos are grouped into different phases of the ship's life. Click on the links below to go to the required section
Photos are by webmaster Gordon Stewart unless otherwise acknowledged
Note : a very limited number of previously published and commercial photographs are used to illustrate the ship in her early years but are believed to be in the public domain due to their age

1933-1943 : Williamson-Buchanan Steamers

At the 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.

Above : Post card view, possibly showing the ship undergoing her official trials, courtesy of Gillon Ferguson
Read Gordon Stewart's review of Clyde Steamers in the 1930s and see how Queen Mary fitted into the busy ferry and excursion trade of that decade - here

Second World War Duty

Unlike her paddle steamer fleetmates, Queen Mary was not requisitioned for minesweeping duty due to her greater draught and remarkably she remained on the Clyde for the duration of hostilities. She maintained the Gourock to Dunoon ferry service alongside the veteran paddler Lucy Ashton, but also acted as a tender to troop transport ships which anchored on the Tail o' the Bank off Gourock. In a variety of grey (and at times yellow) liveries for camouflage, Queen Mary II can be seen above in the latter role at Gourock. The photographer is unknown, but now due to age, the picture is believed to be in the public domain.

1943-1972 : Caledonian Steam Packet Co

Although she effectively came under the Caledonian Steam Packet Company from the 1936 season, it was not until 1943 when the Williamson-Buchanan subsidiary was wound up and Queen Mary was re-registered with her parent company. The Caledonian, which had been established in 1889, retained its name through railway amalgamations, and when, in 1948, most of Britain's railways were nationalised and operated as "British Railways", it became a subsidiary of this new organisation. During this period, Queen Mary was reboilered and emerged for the 1957 season with only one elliptical funnel. The CSP's ships were removed from railway control when, on 1st January 1969 it became a subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group, whose main activities were running buses and whose task was to cut the losses being incurred on maritime operations.  From 1973, the CSPs Clyde operations and the Western Isles services of David MacBrayne Ltd services were combined into a new entity, Caledonian-MacBrayne. Photo taken in 1968 by Ian Stewart
 1973-1977 : Caledonian MacBrayne

When the CSP was merged with David MacBrayne Ltd (whose remaining private shareholders had been bought out) the new state-controlled entity embarked on a rapid programme of modernisation. This involved providing fast and frequent point-to-point services for car ferries - a lifeline for remote communities and essential to handle the growing motorised traffic to the main resorts. They were left with two large passenger-only "cruise" boats on the Clyde and paddle steamer Waverley was withdrawn after only one season. Excursion cruises, with such a strong tradition on the Firth of Clyde could not be abandoned completely and, with nobody expecting Waverley to survive other than as a static exhibit, Queen Mary was retained for further service. With Waverley back on the Clyde in 1975 under preservationist owners and both ships fighting for the dwindling customers  and precious local authority tourist development grants available, Caledonian-MacBrayne decided, after three seasons, to withdraw Queen Mary. Photo of Queen Mary at Rothesay courtesy of Kenny Whyte

 1978-1988 : The Wilderness Years

With Queen Mary out of service, the debate raged as to what to do with her. The public and press campaign never matched that of PS Waverley in 1973/4, but Glasgow Distict Council did buy her with the aim of turning her into a museum as part of their riverside developments. Reduced funding available from central government put an end to the project and she was sold on, eventually to restauranteurs who moved her to London. Very little happened until Toby Restaurants, part of the large brewing company Bass-Charrington bought her in late 1987 and immediately set about fitting her out as a restaurant ship to be moored in central London.
Photo of Queen Mary laid up at Greenock but being readied for a move to London, with the Caledonian lions rampant being removed from the funnel at Lamont's. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte

 1988-2009 : A floating restaurant in London

Arriving in central London at the end of July, 1988, Queen Mary became an immediate attraction in the British capital city. Toby Restaurants were clearly very proud of their new premises, but over the years, the amount of space devoted to restaurants was reduced and the main deck was marketed only for functions, conferences and weddings. In the evenings she turned into a night club in an effort to attract custom. After 10 years she received a major overhaul, but by 2008 a further re-fit was necessary to maintain the internal standards needed to compete in an increasingly cut-throat environment. With the economic chaos in 2008 making it increasingly difficult to run Queen Mary as a going concern,  the share price of Mitchells & Butlers, inheritors of much of the Bass-Charrington empire, collapsing at an even more alarming rate than the stock market in general  and the need for major expenditure looming, she was put up for sale. There were no takers in the pub/restaurant sector.

  2009 : Aboard Queen Mary after closure for business

With little chance of her being retained as a pub and her valuable berth eyed for new river bus developments, Queen Mary was advertised through a ship-broker (Capital Boats) and immediately attracted interest. How much was genuine and how much was just sentimental enquiries is unknown, but in April 2009 it became clear that she was destined to be sold to French interests. It then became known that she was bought for conversion to a hotel ship and would be moored in the marina at the French port of La Rochelle. She was closed for business in January 2009 and cleared of most of her furniture and fittings
Photos by kind courtesy of Richard Lane of sales agents and auctioneers, Capital Boats / Capital Marine Auctions  

 Late October / early November 2009 : Preparations for removal

In late October 2009, her funnels and masts were dismantled and Queen Mary's time in London could be seen to be coming to a close as a suitable tidal window which would allow the ship to pass under the Thames' low bridges approached.
Photo courtesy of Michael Anderson

 On tow through London : Monday 9th Nov 2009

Considerable interest was generated by the day of the tow and numerous photographers found suitable locations on the Thames riverbank and bridges to record her departure. Leaving her berth just before low tide and stemming the tide alongside HMS President, one of the few other historic ships on the London riverbank, she was turned and edged underneath London's road and rail bridges and through Tower Bridge which opened for the occasion. By mid afternoon she was at Greenwich and around 18:00 hrs tied up at Tilbury Dock awaiting further instructions.
Photo courtesy of Phil English

At Tilbury : From November 2009 until May 2016

Includes photos taken on the the potential buyers' viewing day - 22nd August 2011.
Photos of the viewing day are displayed by kind courtesy of Richard Lane of sales agents and auctioneers, Capital Boats / Capital Marine Auctions .
The internal photos show the superficial damage caused by intruders who ripped out cables from cable trays plus general throwing around of furniture in the promenade deck lounges. The above phot was taken on 4th November 2012 by Alex Naughton

The return to Scotland : May 15th 2016

Whilst Queen Mary intentionally slipped her moorings at Tilbury quietly on May 11th, many followed the progress of her under tow around the west of Britain  until she arrived on the Firth of Clyde in the morning of May 15th. Many photographers as well as well-wishers were at Greenock to meet her and others were aboard the specially chartered MV Clyde Clipper to escort her home along the upper Firth. 

James Watt Dock, Greenock

Above : A sight that most people thought would never happen. Paddle steamer Waverley opens her 2016 on May 27th and steams close by James Watt Dock before calling at Custom House Quay, Greenock. Kenny Whyte was able to capture the two last Clyde steamers almost reunited once again after 35 years.
Queen Mary is in the hands of Dales Marine, owners of the Garvel Dry Dock (seen where the blue crane is standing). The intention is that the ship will receive a dry-docking to formally inspect, repair and paint the hull once funding is available. Once this has been completed work on her internal spaces can begin in earnest

Dry docking at Dales Marine Services Ltd's Garvel Clyde dock, Greenock, 1st September - 1st October 2016

After successfully raising the funds needed to complete the next phase of the restoration, Queen Mary was moved into Garvel Dry Dock for a full hull inspection and thickness testing, cleaning and repainting, replating where necessary and replacent of the (already removed) belting. Click on the link for a series of photos recording the day's events plus photos of her return to the James Watt Dock on October 1st
Arrival at Glasgow for winter lay-up at Princes Dock basin on 9th November 2016

Queen Mary was towed to Princes Dock basin in Glasgow for her winter lay-up to release space at James Watt Dock. It was her first appearance within the city boundary since 1977. The dock basin remains despite the arms of the dock having been filled in many years ago as the site for the Glasgow Gargen Festival and since then a measure of urban redevelopment. She now lies very close to her former fleet-mate, the paddle steamer Waverley, which still sails on excursion cruises from Glasgow'

Yellow Funnels - the most visible sign of work proceeding aboard the ship in Glasgow

Work continued aboard the ship throughout with volunteer help and a number of commercial contracts, including the repainting of the funnels to represent the colours of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company. (This shade attracted much criticism despite a scientific attempt to match original colours, and at the end of August 2018, the funnels received a new buff-coloured coating.) The redundant air-conditioning unit on the upper deck was removed and those internal fittings not required for the future stripped out. In early April a start was made on removing the composite material which had covered the teak planked decks since 1997

Above : Seen in December 2017 by Kenny Whyte, the teak decking is fully exposed and repaired and the redundant top hamper removed. Unseen is the considerable work undertaken below deck, aided by the fact that leaks on the observation deck have been plugged

Above : By Autumn 2018 work throughout the ship had advanced considerably. New windows and frames were being fitted on the promenade deck and the wheelhouse timbers were being replaced where necessary whilst on the decks, timbers were also being replaced. Below decks work continued apace. Most noticeably, the funnels had been repainted in a more appropriate shade of buff. Photo by Kenny Whyte

Another dry-docking at Dales Marine, Greenock in June 2019

Above : Entering dry dock at Greenock on 6th June, 2019. She was sporting a tent structure forward which was erected to allow winter deck works to proceed. More fundamentally, the most recent change to the ship was the removal of the run of windows on the promenade deck aft and the removal of the French doors aft, thus restoring her to close to her traditional profile.  Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte


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.
Note :
One turbine remains with the Science Museum and is held at their large item storage facility at Wroughton, Wilts and can only be seen by appointment. Collection No. 1981-1562
One is now at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine and has been stored outside.
The webmaster is unclear about the current location of the third turbine which was originally on display aboard on the lower deck but was removed, probably during her 1997 refit

Above : Turbine outside the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine. Photo courtesy of Kenny Whyte
The turbine subsequently underwent conservation and restoration in 2019


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
E-mail: plansandphotos@nmm.ac.uk
Ship Plans Website: www.nmm.ac.uk/shipplans


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 (pdf file)
(Rotate anti-clockwise for best viewing once pdf file is opened)
Many thanks to Martin Goldby for contributing this brochure

Details of offer for sale to the licensed trade as going concern through Colliers CRE in 2008

Text of Offers for Sale through Capital Boats : both in 2009 (at London) and 2011 (at Tilbury) 

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

Tribute 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


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


Williamson-Buchanan Steamers / Williamson-Buchanan Steamers (1936) Ltd

Caledonian Steam Packet Company


MORE ABOUT CLYDE STEAMERS  (Paddle Steamers and Turbine Steamers)

Go to the Clyde Turbine Steamers Website Homepage 

For full details of the paddle steamers which formed the bulk of the Clyde excursion steamer fleet, please go to the paddlesteamers.info website.


Gordon Stewart is (amongst other interests) a paddle steamer enthusiast 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 Gordon Stewart or the individual photographer where acknowledged. Photos not otherwise attributed are by Gordon Stewart 



Gordon is keen to promote paddle steamers, and educate the public into their historical significance, both objects of the UK's Paddle Steamer Preservation Society of which he is a member. He has created what is probably the internet's most comprehensive database of excursion paddle steamers worldwide, in operation, statically preserved and those currently derelict. There is also an extensive historical database. The database is illustrated by Gordon's own photography (of which there is a full archive) and images kindly supplied for publication by his worldwide correspondents.

Montpellier tram.jpg

InTramCities with Gordon Stewart : Network Photography in Tramway Cities

Gordon Stewart travels regularly throughout Europe to create what is perhaps the finest tramway photograph resource on the internet. Although trams are the focal point and common thread throughout, it is where they are running which provides the diversity and interest in his photos. As well as city centres with their grand architecture, Gordon takes you to less well-known suburbs to give a real feel for the tramway city. The photos are becoming an important historical record for those interested in the city itself as well as its trams and also show how trams fit into urban environments to provide an attractive and accessible transportation system.

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