Glasgow & West Scotland

Princess Royal backs Glasgow's TS Queen Mary restoration

TA Queen Mary Image copyright Ross Wilson
Image caption The TS Queen Mary was built in 1933

The Princess Royal has backed efforts to restore a historic steamship, which is berthed in Glasgow.

The TS Queen Mary, which is undergoing a multimillion pound refurbishment, returned to the city for the first time since 1977 in November 2016.

Friends of TS Queen Mary said Princess Anne's decision to become the ship's royal patron was a "huge honour" which would boost the restoration work.

The steamer was named after her great-grandmother Queen Mary.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Princess Anne is now a royal patron of the TS Queen Mary

For several years the Friends of TS Queen Mary have raised just under £2m to fully fund the restoration.

A number of celebrities also gave their support, including actor and author Robbie Coltrane, who is also a patron of the charity.

The group of trustees rescued the vessel from scrap in 2016.

It is now permanently berthed on the River Clyde next to the Glasgow Science Centre.

Chairman of TS Friends of Queen Mary Iain Sim said: 'We are delighted and deeply honoured that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has agreed to become our Royal Patron.

"This is a great boost for our ongoing work to restore this British icon to her former glory and to preserve her for future generations."

The TS Queen Mary was built in 1933 and was affectionately called "The Glasgow Boat", having sailed daily from Broomielaw.

Image copyright Ross Wilson
Image caption A shot of the TS Queen Mary, formerly with one funnel, leaving Dunoon in the 1960s or 70s

Once known as Britain's finest pleasure steamer, it formerly carried about 13,000 passengers per week.

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 other military roles, 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.

Image copyright Ross Wilson
Image caption The staircase of the TS Queen Mary

Trustees say that once restoration works are complete, the TS Queen Mary will offer educational experiences for school pupils.

It will also be offered as a venue for functions.

Glasgow's Lord Provost Eva Bolander said: "I'm incredibly proud to support this multi-faceted project to refurbish and promote this iconic steamer as an exciting visitor attraction as well as an educational, interactive maritime experience.

"Its permanent berth at Glasgow Science Centre is the perfect location for what was once the world's largest and most luxurious Clyde pleasure steamer."

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