The turbine steamer Queen Mary was launched from Denny’s shipyard in Dumbarton exactly 85 years ago. She was the largest passenger ship ever built for service on the Clyde and provided a standard of comfort unknown on the paddle steamers. With the exception of the war years when she served as a tender to the numerous ships mustered on the Clyde she provided a daily link between Glasgow and the communities on the lower firth.
She was withdrawn from service in 1977 and laid up in Greenock until she left the Clyde under tow for the Thames where a new role as a static floating restaurant awaited her. She fulfilled this duty satisfactorily for 20 years but the business closed in 2009 leaving her with an uncertain future and the prospect of the breaker’s torch being a very likely end.
Fortunately a group of very determined and well organised enthusiasts, Friends of TS Queen Mary, raised sufficient funds to buy her and arrange a tow back to the river of her birth. This was no mean feat and is a whole story in itself. Suffice it to say, she is now berthed in Glasgow where she is undergoing major restoration work for static preservation. Sadly, there is no prospect of her ever sailing again as her engines were removed when she was converted to a restaurant.
A new chapter in her life is opening. She will be returned to her original appearance and used as a business centre and venue for events giving future generations an insight into Glasgow’s proud maritime heritage.
As the photos show she is little more than a shell but a huge amount of work has already been done to preserve the hull and make her weathertight.
Representatives from the project will be attending our Cars on the Campus event on 6th May when a display of the restoration work will be shown.
We hope to arrange a club visit to the ship sometime towards the end of the season. It is a fascinating experience and I can recommend it without reservation.