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.

105767 items
RIBA3380-54Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

 
RIBA3381-54Pasarela de Campo Volantin footbridge, Bilbao, Spain

 
RIBA3382-54State Library, Berlin: lighting


RIBA3383-54J Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles: the entrance

 
RIBA3384-54Sony Center, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin: the covered plaza looking up

 
RIBA3385-54Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire: the east front


RIBA3386-55Royal Pavilion, Brighton: the east front

 
RIBA3387-55George Grey Wornum

 
RIBA3388-55Harry Bulkeley Creswell


RIBA3389-55Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer and Sven Markelius discussing UNESCO building, Paris

 
RIBA3390-55Designs for Spade House, Radnor Cliff Crescent, Sandgate, Kent, for H. G. Wells: perspectives of entrance and garden fronts with plans (design almost as executed)

 
RIBA3391-55Hopkins' House, Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the garden front


RIBA3392-55City Hall (GLA building), The Queen's Walk, South Bank, Southwark, London

 
RIBA3393-55Selfridges department store, Bull Ring, Birmingham: detail of the the curved exterior clad in aluminium spun discs

 
RIBA3394-551-3 Willow Road, Hampstead, London: the street facade


RIBA3395-55The Arion, Ainsdale, Southport, Lancashire: the bar with low relief mural 'The Legend of Arion' by William Mitchell

 
RIBA3396-55Hinckley Upper School, Leicestershire: construction in acrylic box 'Abacus'

 
RIBA3397-55Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: unidentified mural, paint being poured into mould


RIBA3398-55Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: unidentified mural with bird motif

 
RIBA3399-55Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: unidentified mural on stairs

 
RIBA3400-55Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: unidentified mural


RIBA3401-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: unidentified mural: head and shoulders of a man

 
RIBA3402-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: white mural with animal and plant motif

 
RIBA3403-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: mural


RIBA3404-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: manufacture of a mural using a press

 
RIBA3405-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: children posing in front of the mural in situ

 
RIBA3406-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: mural


RIBA3407-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: detail of mural

 
RIBA3408-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area

 
RIBA3409-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: mural design being made from polystyrene


RIBA3410-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: polystyrene mock-up of a mural on a construction site

 
RIBA3411-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: detail of mural

 
RIBA3412-56Artwork created for housing and other community facilities in the London area: detail of mural