CELEBS clamoured to travel on her, but the Queen Mary cruise liner was a star in her own right.

Her launch – 86 years ago this week, at John Brown’s shipyard on the Clyde – made the news all over the country and beyond.

JE Raine, a reader of the Evening Times, captures the magic of the day in a letter he wrote to the newspaper 40 years later.

“I sailed from the Broomielaw to see the launch of the 534,” he wrote.

Glasgow Times:

“As the King Edward took us past the empty shipyards, the stark reality of the unemployment of the Thirties saddened us.

“Once, hundreds of workers acknowledged the cheers of holidaymakers on every passing steamer.

“Then on to John Brown’s with its gloom and rest from which protruded, incredibly high in the girders, the bulbous stern of 534 whose skeletal hull had towered neglected for years until Davie Kirkwood, Clydebank’s MP, had hounded the Government into authorising the completion of the world’s biggest ship.

“We anchored nearby, and at last came the moment when the voice of Queen Mary ended the nation’s speculation and her namesake slid down and across the Clyde and into the Cart, trailing her tons of braking chains that uncoiled thunderously.

Read more: Hollywood legends captured on camera at Glasgow's tailor to the stars...

“As we sailed for home we marvelled at her size and exulted that Scottish shipbuilders were the best in the world. I’m sure that every one of us will always remember that sail down the Clyde.”

The Glasgow Times’s sister newspaper, The Glasgow Herald, described the ship as “a moving masterpiece in steel” and as “the greatest ship the world has ever seen”.

Even King George V was impressed. He addressed the 250,000 onlookers, describing the liner as “the stateliest ship in being”, and then Queen Mary cut the string, releasing a bottle of Australian wine to smash on the port bow.

Glasgow Times:

When the 35,600-ton ship slid into the water to the strains of Rule Britannia, it created such a large wave that the crowd, already damp from the Glasgow downpours, were soaked.

The interiors – which were actually unfinished at the time of the launch, and not completed until 1936 – involved a number of Glasgow companies. Templeton’s made the carpets, Morris Furniture kitted out the cabins.

The Cunard-White Star liner, number 534, became the place all of Hollywood wanted to be photographed, perched on the deck rail, waving to the crowds below.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow Times:

Pictures from the Southern Daily Echo’s archives reveal everyone from Laurel and Hardy and Elizabeth Taylor to Abbott and Costello and Fred Astaire climbed aboard.

Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn and Winston Churchill also sailed on the Queen Mary.

Since 1967, the Clydebuilt liner has been berthed in Long Beach, California, where it is a floating hotel, attraction and wedding venue.

Glasgow Times: