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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105614 items
RIBA3977Cathedral of Notre Dame, Reims: south portal of west front

 
RIBA3978Amphitheatre at Pola (Pula): view from the west

 
RIBA3979Competition design for the Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London, showing Westminster Hall on the left


RIBA3980Design for the Library and Scientific Institution, Wellington Street, Islington, London

 
RIBA3981Designs for Moreby Hall, North Yorkshire, for Henry Preston, Esq.: perpsective of entrance front

 
RIBA3982Design for the conservatory, Mamhead Park, Mamhead, Devon


RIBA3983Southwark Bridge, London: detail of pier and spandrels from the south-west

 
RIBA3984Design for a room in the Jacobean style, Poles, near Thundridge, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA3985Design for the Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London: detail of gable to wings, front elevation


RIBA3986Contract design for the principal tower of the Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London

 
RIBA3987Design for the Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London: detail of centre block of front elevation

 
RIBA3989Preliminary design for Religious Studio, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London


RIBA3990Design for a fountain in the gardens at Buckingham Palace, London

 
RIBA3992Design for the completion of the hall at Highclere Castle, Hampshire

 
RIBA3993Designs for the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London: two half-plans and perspectival elevation of principal doorway


RIBA3994Design for Clobb Copse, Buckler's Hard, Beaulieu, Hampshire

 
RIBA3995Designs for the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London: perspective of gallery with skeletons

 
RIBA3996Design for a gardener's cottage at Laverstoke House, Hampshire, for Melville Porter, MP: perspective


RIBA3997Design for the Great Hall, Euston Station, London

 
RIBA3999Design for a desk for Ernest Debenham: front and side elevations of the construction and marquetry

 
RIBA4000Preliminary design for the interior of RMS Orion


RIBA4001Design for a lounge, RMS Orion

 
RIBA4002Design for the interior of RMS Orion: detail of a lounge

 
RIBA4003Design for Great Portland Street Underground Station for the Metropolitan Railway, London


RIBA4004Unexecuted design for the interior of the News Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

 
RIBA40076 Temple Gardens, Moor Park, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA40086 Temple Gardens, Moor Park, Hertfordshire: the garden front


RIBA40096 Temple Gardens (left), Moor Park, Hertfordshire, seen from golf course

 
RIBA40106 Temple Gardens, Moor Park, Hertfordshire: the living room

 
RIBA4011Church of St Mary, Studley Royal, North Yorkshire: the ornately decorated vaulted chancel and choir


RIBA4013Project for a villa

 
RIBA4016Drawing of the Sydney Opera House under construction

 
RIBA4017Design for the British Pavilion, Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, Paris 1937


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