Ocean Liners

Ocean Liners: Getting there is half the fun!

Images of four ocean liners from the RIBA Collections

Prior to the arrival of the “jet age” and, in particular, the commercial success of the Boeing 707 “airliner” ocean liners were the dominant mode of transport between continents not only carrying passengers but freight and mail. Today only Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2) continues that line’s advertising slogan of “Getting there is half the fun!” Indeed the QM2 is now the sole ship in service as an ocean liner albeit not exclusively as she is also used as a cruise ship.

Ocean liners and cruise ships are actually different types of vessels. Ocean liners have regular ocean going routes and being built for the open oceans tend to be stronger, faster and sleeker. In comparison cruise ships tend to be much boxier being largely designed to cruise around the calmer sailing conditions of sheltered waters.

Only a handful of ocean liners now survive, including the SS Great Britain (1843), RMS Queen Mary (1934), SS United States (1951), SS Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 (1967) as well as a couple, MV Astoria (built as the Stockholm, 1946) and MS Marco Polo (1964), now plying their trade as cruise liners.

Illustrated here are a number of photographs and drawings of ocean liners from the RIBA Collections including several with interior designs by renowned architects including those for the RMS Queen Elizabeth by the designer of the RIBA headquarters, George Grey Wornum.

Feature by Jonathan Makepeace.

SS Normandie
Ocean Liners

SS Normandie

Click on the image above to go to the Normandie gallery.

RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II
Ocean Liners

Orion & Orcades II

Click on the image above to got to go to the Orion & Orcades gallery.

SS Oriana
Ocean Liners

SS Oriana

Click on the image above to go to the Oriana gallery.

105614 items
RIBA4137Crystal Palace and its grounds at Sydenham, London

 
RIBA4139Arch of Hadrian, Athens, with the ruins of the Temples of Zeus Olympus in the background

 
RIBA4141Conjectural reconstruction of the Temple of Diana, Ephesus


RIBA4146Competition design for a Canadian house

 
RIBA4147Design for the Tabernacle Church of Christ, Columbus, Indiana

 
RIBA4148Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: the bronze balustrades above the main entrance


RIBA4149Darwin Building, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, seen from the north-east

 
RIBA4150The Land of Britain aluminium cone entrance, Festival of Britain, South Bank, London

 
RIBA4151The Land of Britain Pavilion, Festival of Britain, South Bank, London: close-up of aluminium cone entrance


RIBA4152Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the garden elevation

 
RIBA4153Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the entrance courtyard

 
RIBA4154Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the garden front


RIBA4155Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the dining room

 
RIBA4157Extension to Mayfield Comprehensive School, Putney, London

 
RIBA4158Sir Denys Lasdun


RIBA4159Sir Denys Lasdun

 
RIBA4160Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois

 
RIBA4161Lunching around one of the 25ft dials of the clock for the Royal Liver Building, Pier Head, Liverpool


RIBA4162Battersea 'A' Power Station, London

 
RIBA4166House for Edward James, 35 Wimpole Street, London: bathroom for his wife, Tilly Losch, designed by Paul Nash

 
RIBA4167Midland Hotel, Morecambe, Lancashire


RIBA4168Housing, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA4169Housing at Lincoln Way, Corby New Town, Northamptonshire

 
RIBA4170Housing, Woodhead Court, Westfield, Cumbernauld New Town


RIBA4171Sir Thomas White Building, St John's College, Oxford

 
RIBA4172Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, Devon

 
RIBA4173Hodek Apartment Building, Prague


RIBA4174Nuffield College, Oxford: the Quad

 
RIBA4175St Catherine's College, Oxford: view looking north of the inward-facing elevation of the west residential block on the left and the auditorium and library on the right

 
RIBA4176Keble College, Oxford: the gateway


RIBA4177Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford: the Wordsworth Building with Talbot Hall on the left

 
RIBA4178York Minster: the north transept with the Five Sisters Window

 
RIBA4179York Minster: the nave looking east