Steamer TS Queen Mary returns to Glasgow

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Media caption,

TS Queen Mary arrives in Glasgow for winter

A steam ship that worked the Clyde for decades has returned to Glasgow for the first time since 1977.

TS Queen Mary, one of the oldest Clyde-built steamers, arrived at the city's Science Centre after being towed from Greenock.

Built in Dumbarton in the 1930s, the 250ft ship is being restored by a charity but needed a safe berth over the winter.

Its current home in Greenock is required for commercial marine work.

The ship, which spent 40 years taking up to 2,000 people at a time for excursions "Doon the watter", was bought by charity Friends of TS Queen Mary, who have launched an appeal to restore it to its former glory.

Charity trustee Iain Sim said: "Glasgow Science Centre has been fantastic, giving us a safe place to berth her over the winter months."

Mr Sim added that he is sure the people of Glasgow will be "chuffed" to have her back.

History of a steam ship

Image caption,
The Clyde steamer will stay in Glasgow for the winter

Built in 1933 at Dumbarton, The TS Queen Mary was one of the last steamships to be launched from the famous Clyde dockyards.

It sailed passengers "doon the watter" from Glasgow to destinations such as Dunoon, Rothesay, Millport and Arran.

At the outbreak of World War Two, the steamer - known as TS Queen Mary II at the time - became a lifeline for Scotland's island communities.

While other vessels were commandeered to sweep for mines or to protect Scotland's skies from German bombers, it helped maintain a vital passenger and freight service between the mainland and the islands.

As cars became more affordable and British holiday habits changed, the ship was eventually retired in 1977 and spent several years as a floating restaurant on the Thames.

Friends of TS Queen Mary tendered a successful bid for the ship in 2015, after they found it languishing in a dockyard on the Thames Estuary,

Glasgow Science Centre said it was "delighted" to be assisting the Friends of the TS Queen Mary in their efforts to restore the ship.

A £2m fundraising campaign was launched in June 2016 to restore and re-open it as an arts and culture venue.

The charity has already secured more than £300,000 of donation to enable the ship to undergo essential repairs.

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