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.

107778 items
RIBA125051County of London Plan exhibition: the Community of Eltham panel

 
RIBA125052Diagram showing The Needs of the Family in a booklet entitled 'The Home of the Citizen' by Elizabeth E. Halton

 
RIBA125054Topographical drawing of a Byzantine capital


RIBA125055Designs for a tapestry entitled 'The Forest', designed for Alexander Ionides: coloured sketch for a peacock

 
RIBA125056Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome: detail of mosaic pavement

 
RIBA125057Elevation of a pavilion (with wing in section) and part of the court facade of a chateau, the latter highy decorated and with window bays flanked by gigantic herms


RIBA125058Half-elevation of a rusticated entrance [left]; unfinished alternative design for the entrance at left [upper right]; sketch of a pavilion of 3 storeys and an attic surmounted by a domed roof and lantern [lower right]

 
RIBA125059Profile and half-elevation of a doorway of complicated design with elaborate decoration

 
RIBA125060Two designs for the upper part of door cases


RIBA125061Elevation, with plan beneath, of a door and profile of the same

 
RIBA125062Elevation of the central door and 1 window bay of a single-storey facade with balustrade above, broken by a central motif with cupola and lantern over

 
RIBA125063Half-elevation of the 2-storey facade of a fantasy design for a Roman civic building with a large central arch in each storey, square niches and pediments of fantastic design


RIBA125064Rough elvation and details of one 2-storey bay of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana on the Piazzetta, Venice

 
RIBA125065Zecca, Venice: elevation and details of one two-storey bay

 
RIBA125066Detailed drawing of part of the garden front of the Chateau of Verneuil-sur-Oise


RIBA125067Elevation of a town house with 2 storeys of 3 bays and 1 attic dormer above the centre

 
RIBA125068Elevation of part of Lescot's building at the south-west corner of the courtyard of the Old Louvre, Paris

 
RIBA125069Elelvation of a 3-storey building with two shops under an arcade on the ground floor


RIBA125070Elevation of part of one of the court facades of the Chateau of Charleval

 
RIBA125071Elevation of two bays of a two-storey facade with attic, possibly connected with projects for the Chateau of Charleval

 
RIBA125072Elevation of a 3-storey pavilion with a double-arched central entrance and one-and-a-half bays of a 2-storey adjacent wing


RIBA125073Alternative designs (right an left) connected with the Porte Baptistere of the Cour de l'Ovale, Fontainebleau

 
RIBA125074Interior of a room showing two panels and a doorway

 
RIBA125075Design for the central staircase pavilion of the corps-de-logis at the Chateau of Montceaux


RIBA125076Designs for Fairacres, Roehampton Lane, Wandsworth, London, for C. F. Kearley Ltd: bird's-eye perspective from the west

 
RIBA125077Designs for Fairacres, Roehampton Lane, Wandsworth, London, for C. F. Kearley Ltd: perspective pf a view of the northern wing

 
RIBA125078Designs for Fairacres, Roehampton Lane, Wandsworth, London, for C. F. Kearley Ltd: perspective looking towards the entrance front from Roehampton Lane


RIBA125079Design for a churchyard cross in memory of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Ascot, Berkshire

 
RIBA125080Designs for a large house, Normanby or Butterwick, Lincolnshire: ground floor plan

 
RIBA125081Designs for a large house, Normanby or Butterwick, Lincolnshire: alternative ground floor plan


RIBA125082Designs for the Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of the Sacred Heart, New Delhi: perspective

 
RIBA125083Design possibly for a wallpaper showing acorns and oak leaves

 
RIBA125084Presentation drawings of 'Balanced Scheme' for new buildings for the University of London, Bloomsbury, London: Malet Street elevation