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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”