xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Dumbarton-built Steamship On Its Way Home
Shipping & Shipbuilding News - 26/04/2016 - The Brightest Maritime Daily

Shipping Times

Scotland News - Posted 26/04/2016

Dumbarton-built Steamship On Its Way Home

Contracts awarded that pave the way for Clyde legend's return

The 1933-built turbine pleasure steamer QUEEN MARY will return to the Clyde at last following funds raised and contracts awarded to allow the ship to make the homewards journey from Tilbury in London to Clyde waters.

The historic vessel, built by the venerable firm of Wm Denny, Dumbarton in 1933, has languished for some time on the Thames, and was once a firm favourite on the Clyde due to her speed, comfort and remarkably spacious saloons.

She is amongst the last of her kind in the world and the last of the once numerous turbine engined fleet on the Clyde. Her builders Denny pioneered passenger ships propelled by steam turbine in 1901 with the introduction of the King Edward. After this extraordinary vessel appeared few operators cared for anything less than a turbine steamer and Denny became masters of this new type of ship.

When Queen Mary appeared in the 1930s it is rumoured that her owners were contacted by Cunard asking them to renamed the ship as Queen Mary was the intended name for the large Cunarder being built in Clydebank. Subsequently the name was changed to Queen Mary II to distinguish her from her larger neighbour!

Friends of ts Queen Mary, who now own the vessel, said at the weekend that in just under a year, they " have secured over 300,000 of corporate in-kind giving and donations, enabling the ship to undergo essential repairs to make her seaworthy for the voyage north."

Former owners of the ship Caledonian MacBrayne joins the list of supporters helping to fund the project to bring her home and have he restored.

"The history of TS Queen Mary is very much part of our own heritage," said Graeme MacFarlan, CalMac's Head of Commercial. "And we are proud to be able to play a small part in bringing her home to the Clyde. This is a chance for everyone to be part of saving a unique piece of Clyde shipbuilding history - the Trust had the vision, and the passion, commitment and the tangible results of its members and many, many marine enthusiasts means that new generations can look forward to marvelling at this grande dame of the golden age of steam."

The trust also announced that Dales Marine, based in Greenock, has been awarded the contract to bring Queen Mary home, in partnership with Carmet Tug Co Ltd. and that the Queen Mary's passage plan has been approved by the MCA. The trust now looks to 'fair weather' and tug availability in order to proceed with their plan of bringing her home some time in May of this year.

"With an estimated 2 million required to fully restore and refurbish Queen Mary, the hard work starts in earnest when she is back on the Clyde." the trust added.

The trust also announced that Mr Denholm chairman of J&J Denholm the Glasgow shipping company had joined the latest list of supporters with a generous donation.

Queen Mary's return is keenly awaited on Clydeside and has broad support amongst many individuals and Clyde-based concerns as well as other trusts, firms, and people throughout Scotland and the UK.

The interest and support mirrors another steamer's appeal back in the 1970s - the very public appeal to support the last sea going paddle steamer Waverley.

With the return of the Queen Mary, the Clyde will have two steamships, plus nearby counterparts on Loch Lomond, ( the paddle steamer Maid of the Loch ) , and on Loch Katrine, ( the ss Sir Walter Scott - another Denny vessel ), making the area one of the most important regions of Europe for preserved and operating steamships. A fitting crown to wear considering the Clyde is the birthplace of Europe's first successful commercial passenger steamer, the Comet, back in 1812.

( The Queen Mary in her original condition )

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