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.

107513 items
RIBA125935View showing house, conservatory and new wing with observatory in parkland setting, Orwell Park, Nacton, near Ipswich, for George Tomline: perspective

 
RIBA125936Competition design for new police headquarters, Marylebone Road, London, for New Scotland Yard: elevation

 
RIBA125937Presentation drawing for Westville Road Primary School, Hammersmith, London: perspective


RIBA125938Competition design for the Queen Victoria Memorial, The Mall, Westminster, London: bird's-eye perspective looking from Buckingham Palace down The Mall

 
RIBA125939Design for 54 & 55 Piccadilly, Westminster, London: perspective

 
RIBA125940Design for Cranbourne House, Westminster, London: perspective


RIBA125941Three half-elevations of fireplaces (above); elevation of a fireplace with detail of moulding and to the left of it a profile view with a steep chimney cowl

 
RIBA125942Two half-elevations of fireplaces

 
RIBA125943Two half-elevations of fireplaces of elaborate design


RIBA125944Two half-elevations of fireplaces

 
RIBA125945Elevation of an elaborate fireplace with the chimneypiece flanked by standing figures of Justice and Fortitude

 
RIBA125946An elaborate engraved cartouche, being the engraved title page of a book of cartouches


RIBA125947Plan, possbly for an altar

 
RIBA125948Landscape scene within a cartouche with shell and fish head

 
RIBA125949Measured drawings of Old St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, for 'a restoration founded upon Hollar's etchings': north elevation


RIBA125950Measured drawings of Old St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, for 'a restoration founded upon Hollar's etchings': east elevation and transverse section

 
RIBA125951Measured drawings of Old St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, for 'a restoration founded upon Hollar's etchings': longitudinal section

 
RIBA125952Measured drawings of Sir Christopher Wren's design for St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, according to the 1673 'Great Model': ground floor plan, plan of the lantern and half-plan through the drum of the dome


RIBA125953Measured drawings of Sir Christopher Wren's design for St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, according to the 1673 'Great Model': south elevation

 
RIBA125954Measured drawings of Sir Christopher Wren's design for St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, according to the 1673 'Great Model': west elevation

 
RIBA125955Measured drawings of Sir Christopher Wren's design for St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, according to the 1673 'Great Model': longitudinal section


RIBA125956Imaginary reconstruction of Sir Christopher Wren's design for St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, according to the 1673 'Great Model': perspective of the interior

 
RIBA125957Topographical etching entitled 'London going out of Town - or The March of Bricks & Mortar!'

 
RIBA125958Survey drawing of the Church of Saint Katherine, Exbury, Hampshire, existing in 1907: ground floor plan


RIBA125959Designs for alterations and additions of the Church of Saint Katherine, Exbury, Hampshire: ground floor plan and elevations

 
RIBA125960Designs for alterations and additions of the Church of Saint Katherine, Exbury, Hampshire: elevation and sections

 
RIBA125961Designs for alterations and additions of the Church of Saint Katherine, Exbury, Hampshire: plan and elevation of pulpit


RIBA125962Caythorpe Court, Lincolnshire, for Edgar Lubbock: plan and aerial view showing terrace and gardens in relation to the house

 
RIBA125963Design for alterations and additions to Lockleys, Welwyn, Hertfordshire: plans and perspective

 
RIBA125964Designs for alterations and additions to Betteshanger House and gardens, Kent, for Sir Walter Charles James: design for terrace and parterre


RIBA125965Designs for alterations and additions to Betteshanger House and gardens, Kent, for Sir Walter Charles James: design for garden steps

 
RIBA125966Designs for alterations and additions to Betteshanger House and gardens, Kent, for Sir Walter Charles James: design for terracing behind retaining walls and a sundial in a parterre

 
RIBA125967Designs for alterations and additions to Betteshanger House and gardens, Kent, for Sir Walter Charles James: design for terrace and parterre