TS Queen Mary benefits from £1 million donation

Posted by Chris Graham on 20th June 2023

Hugh Dougherty reports on a £1 million funding boost for the 1933-built Clyde steamer, TS Queen Mary; a very fitting 90th birthday present!

Queen Mary

TS Queen Mary at her Glasgow Science Centre berth. The steamer charity’s plans to have the ship sail again have been boosted enormously by a £1m anonymous, private donation. (Pic: Hugh Dougherty)

A private donor has given the Friends of TS Queen Mary a one million pound boost as the Clyde steamer celebrates its 90th birthday throughout 2023. The cash will allow the charity, which saved the former Williamson Buchanan, London Midland & Scottish Railway, British Railways and CalMac-owned ship from scrapping, and brought her home to Glasgow in 2016, to push ahead with plans for her full restoration to sailing order.

Friends chairman Ian Sim said: “We are delighted to receive such a boost to our finances by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The donor’s generosity will allow us to lift all the existing timber decks and replace them with steel, something which we have to do to conform to modern requirements to allow us to sail. Work will also be done on the wheelhouse, captain’s cabin and funnels. It’s our aim to return this much-loved steamer to sailing order and the Queen will operate as a cruise ship, delighting day trippers, and also as a floating college, teaching marine and heritage skills around the country. This boost brings the realisation of our plans very much closer.”

A delighted Ian Sim announces the £1m donation in front of TS Queen Mary at the ship’s Glasgow berth.
(Pic: Hugh Dougherty)

The recent announcement came just weeks after Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and patron of the ship’s restoration charity, had been the principal speaker at a private reception in Glasgow for members of the Friends of TS Queen Mary and supporters, marking the 90th anniversary of the launch of the ship’s hull at Denny Brothers of Dumbarton, in 1933. She praised the Friends for their vision in saving the Clyde steamer from certain scrapping, and said that she was certain that the ship, which had a long and distinguished career, would sail again, serving the nostalgia, tourist and educational markets equally.

And demonstrating co-operation between TS Queen Mary and PS Waverley, the Friends of TS Queen Mary have chartered their ship’s sister Clyde steamer for a 90th anniversary cruise from Glasgow Science Centre to Gourock and return, which will be taking place on June 23rd, leaving at 19.15 and returning to Glasgow at 22.30. Tickets cost £38 for adults and £19 for children (including a special anniversary print exclusive to the cruise), and are available from

This news item comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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