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
RIBA4019Design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower, Westminster, London: viewed looking south-west

 
RIBA4021Joldwynds, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey: the entrance front

 
RIBA4022Design for Frinton Park Estate, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex


RIBA4023Design for an underground railway and bus station for London Transport, Newbury Park, Redbridge, London

 
RIBA4024Design for the British Pavilion, Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, Paris 1937

 
RIBA4025Design for a lounge, RMS Orion


RIBA4027Design for a Polyfoto studio

 
RIBA4028Designs for the interior decoration of 1 Grosvenor Crescent, London, for Sir Wilfrid Lawson M.P.: alternative elevation of the staircase well showing decoration

 
RIBA4030Design for the interior decoration of a cinema auditorium, probably in Newcastle-upon-Tyne


RIBA4031Design for two stained glass windows of flowers and Arabic characters for Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

 
RIBA4032Design for the elevation of a wall of the picture gallery, Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

 
RIBA4033Design for the interior decoration of the Chapel of St Joseph, Oratory of St Philip Neri, Brompton Road, Kensington, London


RIBA4034Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: central chimneypiece in the smoking room

 
RIBA4035Designs for the interior decoration of 52 Prince's Gate, London, for Thomas Eustace Smith, Esq.: elevation of a wall and left doorway in the boudoir

 
RIBA4037Church of the Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, London


RIBA4038Preliminary design for Dance Music and Chamber Music Studio, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London

 
RIBA4039Design for Fouracre, West Green, Hampshire

 
RIBA4040Design for a party invitation for the Architectural Association Rugby Club


RIBA4041Design for a metropolis

 
RIBA4042Design for 'The Tudor House' public house, Shoreham, Sussex

 
RIBA4043Design for Gillander House, Clive Buildings, Kolkata (Calcutta), viewed from the south


RIBA4044Design for a house in Kent

 
RIBA4045Design for the decoration of the statue of Eros for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Piccadilly Circus, London

 
RIBA4047Design for a wallpaper or textile showing lilies


RIBA4048Design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower, Westminster, London: viewed looking north-east

 
RIBA4050Design for a 'Long Live the Queen' decoration banner for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, in the shape of a train for the side of Hungerford Bridge, London

 
RIBA4051Design for the decorations for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Piccadilly, London, showing Bond Street entrance


RIBA4052Design for an imperial palace for the sovereigns of the British Empire, imagined to be in Hyde Park, London: elevation of one of the facades

 
RIBA4053Design for an imperial palace for the sovereigns of the British Empire, imagined to be in Hyde Park, London: perspective of a triumphal entrance

 
RIBA4054Design for an arch and screen, Hyde Park Corner, London: view from the south-east


RIBA4055Design for the New headquarters of the London Electric Railway Company (later London Underground), 55 Broadway, Westminster, London: view from the north-east

 
RIBA4058Design for a multi-storey office building, 235-257 Euston Road, London

 
RIBA4059Design for Kelling Hall, Norfolk