IT IS a stirring sight, a magnificent liner being built on the banks of the Clyde.

Times Past readers of a certain vintage may well recall similar scenes from the heyday of shipbuilding in Glasgow.

These pictures, of ‘ship 534’ taking shape at John Brown's in Clydebank, show the breath-taking scale of the work involved.

Glasgow Times: View from the other side of the Clyde as the RMS Queen Mary takes shapeView from the other side of the Clyde as the RMS Queen Mary takes shape (Image: Stewart Bale/Cunard)

Ship 534 would become one of the most famous vessels ever to have been built on the Clyde - the Cunard transatlantic liner RMS Queen Mary.

A new edition of a long out of print book about the ship brings her incredible story up to date, including some exciting news about her future.

In RMS Queen Mary: The World’s Favourite Liner, author David Ellery, who has completely revised and expanded the original 1994 publication, explains: “RMS Queen Mary is a lone survivor, the last of a breed of ship the likes of which we are unlikely to see again.”

He adds: “In her own unique way, she is a reminder of an age of opulence and elegance, and a tangible link between the romance of a past era and the very different world of today.”

RMS Queen Mary has now been preserved at Long Beach, California as a floating hotel and tourist attraction for more than 50 years, comfortably longer than her 31-year career as an ocean liner.

READ NEXT: City archives reveal drastic measures Glasgow took to cut overcrowding

Laid down in 1930, Queen Mary’s construction was severely delayed by the Great Depression. Eventually completed in 1936, the ship was an instant success, capturing the famous Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic later that year, and regaining it in 1938.

For those who could afford to travel on the Queen Mary, the experience was one of luxury and opulence, with high quality carpets and wood-panelling, blankets made from the best merino wool, and incredible attention to detail throughout.

Glasgow Times: Inside one of the opulent stateroomsInside one of the opulent staterooms (Image: Stewart Bale/Cunard)

David explains in the book: “Around 200 firms throughout Britain contributed to the supply of items necessary for the fitting out of Queen Mary.

“In total, some six miles of carpets and rugs were required for public rooms and staterooms, together with thirteen miles of fabric for bedspreads, curtains and covers, and a further half-million pieces of linen, including thirty thousand sheets and thirty-one thousand pillow slips.

“Additionally, two hundred thousand pieces of glass, china and earthenware were produced, as well as sixteen thousand items of cutlery and tableware.”

Glasgow Times: The ship's compasses were made at Glasgow firm Kelvin, Bottomley and BairdThe ship's compasses were made at Glasgow firm Kelvin, Bottomley and Baird (Image: Stewart Bale/Cunard)

The ship’s compasses were made by Glasgow firm Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird, a company famous for their navigational instruments, and the Queen Mary was the first liner to be fitted entirely with motorised lifeboats; each could be launched singlehandedly in less than a minute, thanks to the motorised winding gear.

During the Second World War she served as a troop ship, carrying a total of 810,730 men, and also setting the record for the most individuals carried in a single voyage – 16,683 – which stands to this day.

By the time she ceased passenger service in 1967, superseded by the airliner as the preferred mode for international travel, Queen Mary had carried nearly three million people, from royalty, politicians and film stars to emigrants and cruise passengers.

Glasgow Times: RMS Queen Mary in the fitting-out basin in March 1936RMS Queen Mary in the fitting-out basin in March 1936 (Image: Stewart Bale/Cunard)

After her sale to the city of Long Beach she underwent a major conversion for her new life as a visitor attraction, a role she has continued ever since.

Glasgow Times: The book has been published by Pen & SwordThe book has been published by Pen & Sword (Image: Pen & Sword Books)

During this time however, her story has been far from straightforward, with controversies over management, funding and even the structural integrity of the very ship itself.

Post-pandemic, the future of the only 1930s superliner left in the world seemed uncertain.

Glasgow Times: David ElleryDavid Ellery (Image: Pen & Sword Books)

However, author David Ellery - a writer, broadcaster and documentary film-maker who has spent years researching the Queen Mary – reveals in the new book, published by Pen & Sword, that critical repairs have begun and the ship has re-opened for public tours.

He adds: “Another suggestion mooted in 2022 was to turn the ship into a national monument. This would mean ownership and responsibility being transferred to the Federal Government in the same way as other prominent landmarks like New York’s Statue of Liberty.

“This would need to be established by Congress through legislation or by the president of the United States using the Antiquities Act.”

David adds: “Queen Mary is every bit as important today as she was at any point during her long history; her continued survival is more important than ever.”