Robbie Coltrane has joined a bid to bring the only surviving Clyde-built turbine steamer in the world back to Glasgow. The Scottish actor – who portrayed Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter film series – has become a patron of the Friends of the TS Queen Mary, one of the last remaining links to Scotland’s shipbuilding past.
The neglected steamer is currently tied up in a derelict dock in Essex after having been purchased at auction in 2011 by London-based businessman Ranjan Chowdhury. Coltrane has vowed to assist a group of maritime enthusiasts on the mission to bring her back to Glasgow. He said,
I’m delighted to be patron. Having the Queen Mary back home would be a delight.
He elaborated that the last time he had seen the ship was when she was moored at London’s Waterloo bridge as a floating restaurant. The trustee Aidan O’Donnell said about Robbie’s involvement,
We are thrilled Robbie has agreed to be our patron. He knew all about the Queen Mary and thought it would be a good idea if [she] would come back to Glasgow.
We hope he will help raise money, interest and awareness. But the major problem is persuading the owner of the Queen Mary to let her go.
The plan to save the ship is also backed by a number of MPs, including Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie. Friends of TS Mary say that the boat needs £750,000 (approx. $1,250,000) of repairs, and they want her to be homed in Govan, which could cost additional millions.
Back in the 1940s and ’50s, the Queen Mary ferried thousands of holidaymakers to destinations such as Largs, Rothesay, and Brodick on Arran. The ship’s last public sailing was in 1977, after which she was laid up in Greenock. She was sold to Glasgow District Council in 1981. Finally, in 1987 brewers Bass Charrington acquired the ship, and she became an entertainment venue on the Thames, but that venture ended in 2009.
Are you familiar with this ship? Will you be making the trip to Glasgow to see it if Robbie’s bid is successful? Let us know in the comments.