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.

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RIBA121709Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: detail of the facade with its projecting balconies

 
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RIBA121711Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: the lift and service towers leading to the access galleries

 
RIBA121712Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: looking down onto the roof of one of the lower blocks

 
RIBA121713Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: looking into the central space from one of the access decks


RIBA121714Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: the lower eastern access deck

 
RIBA121715Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: the western access deck

 
RIBA121716Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: close-up of an access gallery


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RIBA121718Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: one of the access galleries

 
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