Last remaining Clyde turbine steamer departs London in emotional voyage home, eight decades after launchThe last remaining turbine steamship to be built on the Clyde has safely set sail for Scotland where she will be restored, more than eight decades after she was first launched and 35 years since she was last on the open seas.
Friends of TS Queen Mary, a charity patroned by Robbie Coltrane OBE, raised over £300,000 in under a year making the return voyage possible.
Speaking from a vessel which towed the historical ship out of the Port of Tilbury on the River Thames, charity trustee Iain Sim said: “I’m really quite emotional seeing her set sail, it’s caught me by surprise. This is a proud moment in the charity’s history and in the history of this fantastic and most beautiful vessel. She’s finally coming home!”
As the historic vessel departed London for the last time, small crowds gathered to take photographs and wave her goodbye.
Built in 1933, TS Queen Mary was the last steamship ever to be launched from the famous Clyde dockyard in Glasgow. Her place as a national treasure was secured in 1996 when she was listed on the UK’s official historical ships register.
In her hay day she was the pride of the Clyde sailing passengers ‘Doon the Watter’ from Glasgow to destinations such as Dunoon, Rothesay, Millport and Arran.
The vessel is expected to arrive in Scotland on Monday, subject to good sailing conditions and no technical issues. Once safely back in Scottish waters, the charity will launch a fundraising appeal, expected to be worth around £2 million, to restore her to her 1930s splendour. The restoration effort will be aided by apprentices, continuing Scotland’s ship-building legacy in the 21st century.
The charity behind her return has been supported by a number of prominent organisations such as Caledonian MacBrayne, Forth Ports, V Ships, Ferguson Marine and The RHS Charitable Foundation run by Lord Smith of Kelvin, as well as countless individuals.