‘Of course I’ll marry you!’

A courting couple is espied amid the crowd on the foredeck of Queen Mary II c1960. Those were the days when ‘the Glasgow steamer’ made her daily sailing ‘doon the watter’, the sun shone and romance was in the air

One of the photographic collections that CRSC is fortunate enough to have been bequeathed is the steamer collection of railway enthusiast  John Thomas. Some of his pictures have already appeared in our publications and online galleries but, on looking again at the collection recently, Stuart Craig noticed there were several beautiful images capturing the human aspect of the ‘steamer scene’.

Images of people boarding steamers, passengers crowding the decks of steamers, folk standing on piers looking out at steamers: what would these people have been discussing, commenting on? Well, with the help of modern phone apps, here is a light-hearted guess at just that.

Duchess of Montrose leaves Gourock on a summer’s day in the mid 1950s — not on charter to CRSC (as alluded to here), more likely on a Saturday afternoon cruise to Ailsa Craig. The only time CRSC chartered the ‘Montrose’ was on 28 May 1949, when she sailed from Gourock clockwise round Arran. She was withdrawn at the end of the 1964 season

Countess of Breadalbane at Custom House Quay during a CRSC charter in the early 1960s, when she had a white hull

Bute, one of the original Clyde car ferries in 1954, approaches Mallaig in the mid 1970s while on the Armadale run

Caledonia at Craigendoran in the late 1960s

Scene (and heard) between the funnels on Waverley in the late 1970s

Scene at Rothesay one early afternoon in the late 1950s, shortly after the arrival of Jeanie Deans

Seen this time from the prom, Jeanie Deans prepares to leave Rothesay for Craigendoran after her cruise Round Bute

Glen Sannox off Gourock Pier c1975

The scene opposite Braehead on a downriver cruise in the 1950s: ‘O the River Clyde, the wonderful Clyde, the name of it thrills me and fills me with pride’

Arrival of Caledonia at Gourock c1965

The Skye ferry Lochalsh at Kyleakin in the early 1970s. It took another two decades for the bridge to be built

The young Eric Schofield (left, now CRSC Honorary Secretary) on board Jeanie Deans in 1964, her last season on the Clyde

Waverley beached at Dunoon’s old coal pier after the 1977 Gantocks disaster

On board Waverley c1978 with pipe band, a scene we’d all love to see recreated next summer

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Published on 9 December 2020