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.

107512 items
RIBA125804Design for a poster for the Central Liquor Control Board entitled 'The Early Bird Catches the Worm' to decorate a pub or canteen, possibly in the Carlisle area

 
RIBA125805Presentation drawings for the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool: cross section

 
RIBA125806Presentation drawings for the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool: ground floor plan


RIBA125807Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: preliminary axonometric cutaway

 
RIBA125808Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: decorative details

 
RIBA125809Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: working drawing for dome and lantern


RIBA125810Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: lantern details

 
RIBA125811Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: axonometric cutaway

 
RIBA125812Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: presentation drawing showing plans, elevation and sections (C)


RIBA125813Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: presentation drawing showing plans, elevation and sections (A)

 
RIBA125814Designs for the Henbury Rotunda, Henbury, for Sebastian de Ferranti: presentation drawing showing plans, elevation and sections (B)

 
RIBA125815Design for completing William Wilkin's facade of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London: plan and elevations


RIBA125816Designs for interior decoration of 44 Belgrave Square, Belgravia, London, for the Honourable Percy Wyndham: elevation of entrance hall wall in dark red and black with a grey frieze; (right) plan of entrance hall ceiling, in grey

 
RIBA125817Designs for the interior decoration of 29 Chesham Place, London, for Sir Sydney Hedley Waterlow, Bt: elevation of the drawing room wall with entrance doors to the conservatory either side of a niche

 
RIBA125818Designs for the interior decoration of 9 Chesterfield Gardens, London, for Henry, Lord Leconfield: two designs for the dining room walls


RIBA125819Designs for the interior decoration of the addition to Lythe Hill, Haslemere, Surrey, for James Stewart Hodgson Esq.: plan and section of the billiard room ceiling

 
RIBA125820Designs for the interior decoration of 52 Prince's Gate, London, for Thomas Eustace Smith, Esq.: plan of dining room ceiling

 
RIBA125821Design for the staircase, Wildernesse House, Seal, near Sevenoaks, Kent, for Lady Louisa Mills: section


RIBA125822Design for the interior decoration of 15 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, for F Lehmann, Esq: elevation of a wall of the Green Drawing Room

 
RIBA125823Design for the interior decoration of 15 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, for F Lehmann, Esq: elevation of a wall in a second floor dressing room

 
RIBA125824Design for the interior decoration of 15 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, for F Lehmann, Esq: plan and elevation of the ceiling in small drawing room


RIBA125825Designs for the drawing room & dining room, No. 22 Prince's Gate, London, for H. S. Keating: elevation of wall in the drawing room with two doorways, in blue and gold

 
RIBA125826Designs for the drawing room & dining room, No. 22 Prince's Gate, London, for H. S. Keating: elevation of wall in the dining room with one doorway, in dark red, black and pink

 
RIBA125827Designs for the interior decoration of 1 Grosvenor Crescent, London, for Sir Wilfrid Lawson M.P.: elevation of dining room wall with three doorways, in green & brown


RIBA125828Royal Exchange Assurance Offices, 29 Pall Mall, London: perspective of the facade, as built except for minor details

 
RIBA125829Royal Exchange Assurance Offices, 29 Pall Mall, London: perspective of the interior of one of the rooms

 
RIBA125830Designs for the interior decoration of the addition to Lythe Hill, Haslemere, Surrey, for James Stewart Hodgson Esq.: design for gates in wrought iron work incorporating the initial H


RIBA125831Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: plan and section of the ceiling

 
RIBA125832Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: elevation of the window wall

 
RIBA125833Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: elevation of a wall with entrance doors


RIBA125834Studies of apples

 
RIBA125835Unidentified designs for a drawing room in the Adam style: elevation of a wall with one doorway and paintings hung either side of the door with much decorative plasterwork including medallions with Roman figures and garlands

 
RIBA125836Unidentified designs for a drawing room in the Adam style: elevation of a wall with one chimneypiece and two doorways and much decorative plasterwork