TS Queen Mary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other ships called Queen Mary, see Queen Mary (ship).
TS Queen Mary on the Thames in 2007. With original two funnels and current configuration.
  • 1933-1935: TSS Queen Mary
  • 1935-1976: TSS Queen Mary II
  • 1976-: TSS Queen Mary
Operator: (owners)
Port of registry: United Kingdom
Builder: William Denny and Brothers, Dumbarton
Yard number: 1262
Launched: 30 March 1933
Out of service: 1978
Fate: Static exhibit/restaurant
General characteristics
Length: 252.5 ft (77.0 m)
Beam: 35.1 ft (10.7 m)
Draught: 10.1 ft (3.1 m)
Installed power: 350 ihp
Propulsion: 3 Parson Steam Turbines
Speed: 21 knots

The two funnel Clyde steamer TS Queen Mary was built at the William Denny shipyard at Dumbarton for Williamson-Buchanan. The 871 gross tons steamer was powered by three direct drive steam turbines, and carried 2086 passengers making her the largest (though not the longest) excursion turbine on the River Clyde.

In service[edit]

In 1933 she joined the Williamson-Buchanan fleet, taking over from the first Clyde turbine steamer, the 1901 TS King Edward on the run from Glasgow down the River and Firth of Clyde to Rothesay, Millport and Arran. In 1935 the fleet including Queen Mary passed to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, and her registered owners became Williamson-Buchanan (1936) Ltd. Also in 1935, Williamson-Buchanan were contacted by the Cunard Company which was getting ready to have its new liner launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary – so Cunard reached agreement with Williamson-Buchanan that the turbine steamer would become TS Queen Mary II, and presented a portrait of Her Majesty to hang in the forward lounge of the Clyde steamer, while their liner became the RMS Queen Mary.

TS Queen Mary II was a roomy and comfortable ship, well suited to the large numbers of passengers on the route, with passenger capacity making up for a modest speed of 19.7 knots on trial. She was a two class ship, with cabin passengers housed forward and the top deck extending aft giving steerage passengers a share of it as well as sheltered space below. Though the rest of the fleet was painted in the LMS livery with yellow funnels, she retained her white funnels and Williamson-Buchanan house-flag until the war.

Wartime and post-war[edit]

During World War II, she worked on maintaining Clyde services while many other steamers became minesweepers or anti-aircraft vessels. After the war, she returned to service in LMS livery with yellow funnels; then, post war 1948 nationalisation of the railways brought the steamers under the Caledonian Steam Packet Company (CSP) with the same livery. As traffic increased in the 1950s, modifications were made. Over the winter of 1956-1957 the TS Queen Mary II was changed from coal to oil burning, the two funnels were replaced by a single well proportioned funnel and a new mainmast was added so that she now had two masts to meet changed regulations for ship's lights, with her tonnage increasing to 1014.

In the 1960s, a gradual change in holiday habits and a succession of summers with poor weather led to a decline in Clyde sailings. While other ships were retired, the Queen Mary II was refitted and put on cruises from Gourock to Inveraray, Brodick and Campbeltown. The CSP had been gradually merging with the west highland ferry company MacBraynes, and in 1973 the company became Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd. After a disappointing first season, they decided to reduce their fleet, with the paddle steamer PS Waverley being handed to a preservation society, and its routes taken over by the Queen Mary (which lost the "II" as the Cunard liner had now been retired).


Queen Mary moored on the Victoria Embankment on 16 October 2009

Waverley survived and prospered, but with the shift to diesel car ferries and cost pressures the TS Queen Mary was retired after a last evening showboat cruise from Largs to Rothesay on 27 September 1977. She was then laid up in the East India Harbour, Greenock.

In 1981 the ship was bought by the Lau family and taken south to London to become a floating restaurant but unfortunately it did not end well until 1987 where it was sold to the Bass PLC. She underwent a £2.5m refurbishment in 1997 and was moored at Victoria Embankment. Facilities included two bars and two function rooms. The top deck of the ship was used as an open-air venue with bar facilities.

In November 2009, the ship was towed out of London.[1] She was purchased by Samuel Boudon who had plans for her renovation and mooring in La Rochelle, France,[2] as a floating restaurant and fitness centre.[3] However, she remained moored in Tilbury Docks until August 2011.[4]

TS Queen Mary, Tilbury. July 22, 2013

She was auctioned by Capital Marine Services on 24 August 2011,[5] and sold to a British antique dealer planning to restore her to 1930's glory; ″Queen Mary is the last survivor of her class anywhere in the world and is an exceptionally important part of British maritime history epitomising the very best of British shipbuilding pedigree and tradition", ″Our mission is to restore this unique example of British Maritime History″.[6] In 2012 a charitable group, Friends of the TS Queen Mary, was formed with the goal of returning the ship to a permanent berth in Glasgow, Scotland.[7]

In 2013 the ship's owner, Ranjan Chowdhury, was criticised in the media for attempting to sell the ship's remaining brass propellor.[8]

In February 2015, it emerged that the vessel is subject to a Prohibition Notice, issued by the MCA, that prevents the ship from leaving the Port of Tilbury, until it is rendered seaworthy.[9]

The Future[edit]

It was announced in the Sunday Mail newspaper on 25 October 2015, that the Glasgow-based charity Friends of TS Queen Mary had purchased the Queen Mary.[10] Plans for the ship's future are set to be announced.


  1. ^ "Tower Bridge site: Bridge Lift Times". Retrieved 2009-11-09.  Text included: DAY Mon DATE 09 Nov TIME 14:15 VESSEL TS Queen Mary & Tug DIRECTION Down (meaning down-river)
  2. ^ "News - yacht refit". Polerefit.com. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "BBC London News: Victoria Embankment has taken a step back into its past with the towing away of the Queen Mary pub boat.". BBC News. 2009-11-08. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  4. ^ Port of London - www.pla.co.uk. "Ships in-port List > Ship Movements > Port Trade". Pla.co.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Capital Marine Services". Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Welcome to T.S. Queen Mary Website". Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Friends of the TS Queen Mary". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  8. ^ McPherson, Lynn (22 December 2012). "Outcry from marine enthusiasts as propeller belonging to historic Scots ship Queen Mary is put up for sale". Daily Record (Scotland). Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  9. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/BLOCKED+IN+DOCK%3B+Blow+as+Coastguard+slap+a+ban+on+bringing+famous...-a0401656798
  10. ^ McPherson, Lynn (25 October 2015). "Queen Mary set to return to Scotland as charity led by Robbie Coltrane succeeds in buying legendary steamship". Daily Record (Scotland). Retrieved 5 November 2015. 


Coordinates: 51°27′20″N 0°21′36″E / 51.4556°N 0.3600°E / 51.4556; 0.3600