The Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary leaving the dock at Southampton on her maiden voyage, 27th May 1936The Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary leaving the dock at Southampton on her maiden voyage, 27th May 1936
The Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary leaving the dock at Southampton on her maiden voyage, 27th May 1936 | Getty Images

Clydebuilt: 45 pictures detailing the history of the Queen Mary - the Clyde’s proudest ship-building moment

The Queen Mary was built in Clydebank nearly 100 years ago - here are some fascinating pictures detailing it’s construction right up until its fate in the modern day

The RMS Queen Mary is the finest and most famous work produced by shipbuilders upon the Clyde - and was the greatest example of our ship-building industry reaching far beyond the boundaries of Britain.

The now-retired ocean liner was constructed in Clydebank by John Brown & Company for the Cunard White Star / Line cruise company. Construction began in 1930 and took around three and a half years to finish - including time in which production was paused during the great depression - it cost £3.5m at the time, equivalent to around £315,769,953.35 in 2023.

The ship was named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. Until her launch, the name was kept a closely guarded secret - going under the production name of Cunard Liner 534. Legend has it that Cunard intended to name the ship Victoria, in keeping with company tradition of giving its ships names ending in “ia”, but when company representatives asked the King’s permission to name the ocean liner after Britain’s “greatest Queen”, he said his wife, Mary of Teck, would be delighted.

Alongside the equally as impressive Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary ran a two-ship weekly express service between Southampton, Cherbourg, and New York in the days before air travel had become commercially viable.

The Queen Mary has lived a long and full life - from humble beginnings in Clydebank, to ferrying the stars of Hollywood at the peak of silver-screen - it went on to transport troops in the second world war, and then retired to California, where it remains to this day as a tourist attraction on Long Beach.

We wanted to chart the history of the Queen Mary in these old pictures - take a look below.

The ship was named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. Until her launch, the name was kept a closely guarded secret - going under the production name of Cunard Liner 534. Legend has it that Cunard intended to name the ship Victoria, in keeping with company tradition of giving its ships names ending in “ia”, but when company representatives asked the King’s permission to name the ocean liner after Britain’s “greatest Queen”, he said his wife, Mary of Teck, would be delighted.

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