Restoration steams ahead for last Scottish turbine ship Queen Mary

The funnels were repainted in 1947 yellow and black on Thursday
The funnels were repainted in 1947 yellow and black on Thursday
Share this article
0
Have your say

Scotland’s last turbine ship is being restored to its 1947 heyday when up to 2,500 daytrippers crowded aboard for a trip “doon the watter” in the Clyde.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon toured the TS Queen Mary yesterday ahead of its planned re-opening next spring as an education centre and wedding and event venue.

Nicola Sturgeon looks out from the bow of Queen Mary

Nicola Sturgeon looks out from the bow of Queen Mary

The charity which rescued the 84-year old vessel from the scrapyard last year hopes to link with Glasgow Science Centre, beside which it is currently moored.

Ms Sturgeon visited as MSP for the area - Glasgow Southside.

The latest signs of the refurbishment include the funnels being repainted yellow and black on Thursday.

These were the colours of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company - which became CalMac - which operated the vessel in 1947 when the bridge [control room] was enclosed.

Queen Mary carried up to 2,500 passengers down the Clyde - this upper deck would have been crowded with daytrippers

Queen Mary carried up to 2,500 passengers down the Clyde - this upper deck would have been crowded with daytrippers

The paint was matched using a chip of the original colour provided by an enthusiast.

Merchant Navy officer cadets from Clyde Marine Training will take part in the work, including removing material covering the Burma teak deck and interior painting.

Friends of TS Queen Mary (FoTSQM), which saved the Dumbarton-built ship from dereliction at Tilbury in Essex, will also bring in specialist contractors to supplement other weekend volunteers when funding becomes available.

Patron Robbie Coltrane launched a £2 million appeal last June, which has reached £800,000 - £300,000 of which was used to acquire and tow home the vessel to Scotland.

Main staircase between decks

Main staircase between decks

Much of the three lower decks remain largely unchanged since the ship’s last use as a bar and restaurant, beside Waterloo Bridge in London from 1998 to 2009.

Those fittings will be replaced by new designs by Tina-Dawn Hopking, a student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee.

Cunard - which took the name Queen Mary for its liner in 1935 - will donate furniture freed up from the refurbishment of its Queen Mary 2 successor.

Joe McKee, technical manager of ship managers V.Ships, who is involved with the project said: “It’s amazing the number of people who have connections with the ship.

The last surviving of the three original propellers

The last surviving of the three original propellers

“A man from Chemco, which is donating coatings, remembered being a six-year-old passenger and his granny giving him a sixpence to put in the hat of a band playing aboard.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “I was delighted to see first-hand the work being done to restore this vital part of our heritage.

“This is a fantastic project and provides a great opportunity for young people to get involved in the restoration.”

An anchor motif in the second class lounge

An anchor motif in the second class lounge

The second class passenger lounge will be the principal space for weddings and events

The second class passenger lounge will be the principal space for weddings and events

The former first class lounge

The former first class lounge

Bubbly...at bar prices from a decade ago

Bubbly...at bar prices from a decade ago

The former galley on the lower deck

The former galley on the lower deck

The original 1930s restaurant reception desk

The original 1930s restaurant reception desk