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.

108594 items
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


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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

 
RIBA125085Presentation drawings of 'Balanced Scheme' for new buildings for the University of London, Bloomsbury, London: Russell Square elevation


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RIBA125088Preliminary designs for new buildings for the University of London, Bloomsbury, London: perspective of a design for an 11-court scheme at Montague Place and Malet Street


RIBA125089Unexecuted design for Tower Bridge, London: plan, elevations and sections

 
RIBA125090Unexecuted competition design for the De la Warr Pavilion entertainment hall on the seafront at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex: ground, lower ground and first floor plans

 
RIBA125091Unexecuted competition design for the De la Warr Pavilion entertainment hall on the seafront at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex: south, north and east elevations


RIBA125092Unexecuted competition design for the De la Warr Pavilion entertainment hall on the seafront at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex: sections

 
RIBA125093Unexecuted competition design for the De la Warr Pavilion entertainment hall on the seafront at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex: plan of layout

 
RIBA125094Design for luxury flats, 21-22 St Janes's place, London: perspective


RIBA125095Design for completing the west towers of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh: perspective

 
RIBA125096Student design for 'An Entrance to a City'

 
RIBA125097Design for pithead baths, Pye Hill Colliery, Jacksdale, Nottinghamshire, for the National Coal Board East Midlands Division: perspective depicted in snow


RIBA125098Competition designs for decorations for the Coronation of King George VI, Bond Street, London: perspective

 
RIBA125099Design for Knightsbridge railway station, Dublin: perspective

 
RIBA125100One of a set of illustrative panels for the 'Britain can make it' exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, showing interior design 1837-1937: an interior of 1837


RIBA125101One of a set of illustrative panels for the 'Britain can make it' exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, showing interior design 1837-1937: an interior of 1877

 
RIBA125102One of a set of illustrative panels for the 'Britain can make it' exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, showing interior design 1837-1937: an interior of 1907

 
RIBA125103One of a set of illustrative panels for the 'Britain can make it' exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, showing interior design 1837-1937: an interior of 1927


RIBA125104One of a set of illustrative panels for the 'Britain can make it' exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, showing interior design 1837-1937: an interior of 1937

 
RIBA125105Hinge and door-handle sample for the Mansion House Square scheme, 1 Poultry, City of London, for Peter Palumbo

 
RIBA125106Hinge and door-handle sample for the Mansion House Square scheme, 1 Poultry, City of London, for Peter Palumbo