Adverts only show for non-members



Author Topic: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'  (Read 24921 times)

0 Members and 7 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Bob C.

QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« on: Aug 05, 2009, 07:38 PM »
I just found this very interesting article on the Queen Mary Story Website (http://www.queenmarystory.com/search/label/QE2).  Contained in the article is the account of the desire to replace QM in 1961.  Six companies bid on the project but two, Vickers-Armstrongs and Swan and Hunter were going to combine efforts to build the ship at Swan and Hunter Shipyard and fit her out at the Walker Navy Yard a little over a mile up the Tyne.

The article goes on to say that due to lagging passenger revenues on the Atalantic, the ship was never built BUT by 1965 when this new ship would have been putting to sea on her maiden voyage, Cunard changed their minds and rebid the contract for a QM and QE replacement.

Had Cunard not changed their minds and followed through in 1961...would the name still be Queen Elizabeth 2?

Would she look like she did/does?

Would she have lasted into the 21st centrury?

Very intriguing to ponder...
« Last Edit: Aug 06, 2009, 11:19 AM by Rob Lightbody »

Offline Heather

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #1 on: Aug 05, 2009, 07:49 PM »
Who knows!  We may not have joined this great forum if things had been different - what would we have done with our lives if we didn't have this?

I remember the stunned silence at the launch when the name was announced (I was of course quite young at the time!!!). I think it added to the excitement when we didn't know what the name of the liner was going to be.  Why did they start telling us what the names were going to be?

 ???

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 10922
  • Total likes: 10875
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #2 on: Aug 05, 2009, 08:02 PM »
I presume this is referring to 'Q3' which is shown in various QE2 books?  Or is it even earlier than that?

Regardless, it would have been a disaster.  

An utter disaster.  

QE2 was revolutionary, and it was only that, which saved her, when all other "similar" ships had to end their lives (e.g. France and SSUS).  

Twice they changed direction - in the right direction - once when ditching Q3 and commissioning Q4, and then again during Q4's construction when they altered the design even more.  Q4 (QE2) was always designed to cruise, and was not simply a direct successor to the first two Queens - because that was simply no longer needed or wanted.  If they'd built Q3 instead of Q4, Cunard would have gone under in the 60s or very early 70s and would only be a memory now.  Q3 would have been laid up and/or scrapped.

One more thing saved QE2 - in a bizarre twist.  They deleted her fourth boiler to save some money, but this made her unreliable in service, because there was no redundancy when things went wrong, and it meant the other boilers were over-used, especially as QE2 had a MUCH more demanding turnaround cycle time than the old Queens.  So, by the 80s they had to do something to fix her, or scrap her, and she was too good to scrap, so they re-engined her.  Had she had the 4th boiler, in my view, she'd have made it in the early to mid 90s I think, but then been too old to re-engine.
« Last Edit: Aug 05, 2009, 08:16 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline Bob C.

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #3 on: Aug 05, 2009, 08:17 PM »
Rob I agree that the 1961 liner would most likley have been a disaster but I don't think this was Q3.  My understanding is that Q3 was an early concept of the 1965 contract that eventually led to Q4.  If you look closely at the model of Q3, it has, at least on the exterior, some QE2-esque characteristics.  I don't think the 1961 model would have looked as modern.

I may be wrong and will have to refer to Potter and Frost then next time I get my hands on a copy.   

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 10922
  • Total likes: 10875
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #4 on: Aug 05, 2009, 08:20 PM »
Oooh!  Interesting indeed... if its not Q3, I'd really love to see what it was meant to look like!

Mind you, would that not make QE2 'Q5' ? :)
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline Bob C.

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #5 on: Aug 05, 2009, 08:46 PM »
I remember reading about a concept of two smaller ships to replace the QM and QE in reference to Q3 but, again, I definitely need to go get Potter and Frost.  Definitely an interesting history to research and sort out.  Can't wait to get started!

Offline Bob C.

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #6 on: Aug 05, 2009, 09:03 PM »
I love the internet, I hate the internet.  Right now I hate it because it made my initial research too easy.   Two web pages I found so far, one of them here (http://raflucgr.ra.funpic.de/queen_elizabeth_21.htm), both refer to the Q3 as the ship that was to replace the QM and Q4 as the ship to replace the QM and QE.   

Q3 was to be a traditional 3-class ship used for trans-atlantic crossings only.  It was not until after the Q3 concept was abandoned and rethought in 1964 that the aspect of part-time cruising was introduced shaping the ship we all know and love.

I'm not done because I want to find out more and I feel cheated out of hours of researching the QE2!

 

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start
« Reply #7 on: Aug 06, 2009, 08:16 AM »
Cunard bagan to plan for the replacements of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in the mid 1950s and their original scheme was for a pair of identical three-class 75,000-tonners.The Government's Chandos Committee (set up to see if Cunard should receive a loan to build these two) concluded that only one should be built - Q3. Thankfully Cunard saw sense and cancelled Q3 in 1961. As Rob said it would have been a "disaster". A word even used by Cunard Chairman John Brocklebank. She would have probably ended up like the United States and France and laid up while very young. As to a possible name - well, that's anyones guess.

What is more interesting is that Trafalgar House / Cunard did plan Q5 in the late 1980s. She would have entered service in 1991 and perhaps would have shortened the life of our beloved Queen by 5 - 10 years!! Q5 would have been very revolutionary - the plans show a twin-funnelled, 90,000-ton ship capable of 40 knots! (gas turbines) to make the crossing in 3.5 - 4 days. She would have been three-class roo with a Super Deluxe, First and Tourist. The Tourist passengers would have had buffet food - for which they would pay extra (way ahead of the Aida and Ocean Village concept). QE2 would hve been assigned to Pacific cruises leaving Q5 on the Atlantic. So, things could have been very different.... Q5 was eventually cancelled because Trafalgar House couldn't agree on the final design and costs were spiralling.

But they did develop the SWIFT Concept in the mid-1990s which would have been unlike any other ship!


Greg78uk

  • Guest
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #8 on: Sep 02, 2010, 07:05 PM »
Hi Everyone, I have just joined the site and was very interested in your discussion about the Q3. I have two archive boxes full of papers related to the Q3 and I can explain what really happened in 1961 and why the planned ship was abandoned.
As you know, Cunard were looking to replace the Queen Mary with a new 'Express Liner' designed for the Transatlantic Run. It was to be part funded by Cunard and part by a large loan from the British Government. There was large objection to it due to the fact the days of the Transatlantic Run were fast disapearing due to the advent of air travel, but the Board of Cunard were adamant.
My late grandfather Raymond Gregory was a shareholder of Cunard at the time and at the 1960 AGM raised the point very strongly that Cunard should be investing in a ship that could be used for pleasure cruising as well as the Transatlantic Passage. The Board refused to listen. Following the AGM, he was approached by several other major shareholders, all concerned that the building of the Q3 would destroy Cunard and they would all loose their investment.
Grandfather then began preparations for a Shareholder Revolt against the board. At this point in time there had never been a sucessful shareholder revolt in Britain and it was new territory. He wrote to every single shareholder of the company, sending a ballot slip, asking if they would support him.
The approaching revolt gained national coverage in every newspaper and TV station at the time. There was a lot of bad feeling against him particularly on Clydebank at John Browns who were expecting to win the contract for the new ship and he was invited to go up and meet with the Unions there, he did so, and they threatened to throw him in the docks, unless he backed down.
By this point he had gained sufficient backing from the shareholders in order to force the Board to call an Extraordinary Meeting of the shareholders, Brocklebank summoned him to the Cunard Building at Liverpool where they met for a discussion that would last for hours. Grandfather issued Brocklebank with an ultimatum that the Q3 be shelved in favour of Cunard investigating his plan for a smaller ship, useable for pleasure cruising, to be called the Q4. Brocklebank eventually agreed and they released a joint press statement that same day.
Grandfather then worked with Brocklebank and Cunard on the Q4 (QE2). I have mountains of paperwork, correspondence etc related to all this, its fascinating including a letter from the Union Leaders at Clydebank after work had started on the Q4, apologising for threatening to throw Grandfather in the dock and calling the Q4 “His ship”.

Offline Twynkle

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #9 on: Sep 02, 2010, 07:45 PM »
Hello and Welcome
It's really good to meet you here!

Thank you very much for this.
Well Done to your Grandfather.
We mightn't be here at all had he not been so creative in his thinking!
It's a very good account - and although I wasn't at John Browns,
from the 'Liverpool/Cunard/Brocklebank' angle it all sounds familiar,
although it was a fairly long time ago - for various reasons, I haven't forgotten it either!
I can't help wondering - how did he and Sir John got on after the meeting...
You say that he worked on Q4 - are you able to tell us what he did?

Many thanks again - it will be really good to hear more of your experience  too - did he take you on board QE2?


QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for what seemed like ages...Please don't leave her looking more like a Hotel-with-a-Hull than the greatest Liner afloat - Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Bob C.

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #10 on: Sep 02, 2010, 08:39 PM »
An amazing snippet.  Can't wait to see more!

Greg78uk

  • Guest
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #11 on: Sep 02, 2010, 10:05 PM »
Interestingly, Grandfather and Brocklebank became good friends after the revolt. Grandfather always said that in his opinion Sir John had never wanted the Q3 and it was a problem he had inherited from his immediate predecessor as Chairman and was trapped into the continuation of the plans and for him the Shareholder Revolt was in the end a welcome opportunity to cancel the disasterous scheme, as if he hadn't I expect the Q3 would have gone the same way as the SS United States and the SS France and destroyed the company.

His role in the Q4 was interestingly enough around shareholder relations, ensuring that the shareholders who had grouped behind him in 61 were behind Cunard over the new ship.

The events on Clydeside are very interesting, he was invited up there by the Scottish Daily Express to meet his critics at the shipyard and I have a fantastic set of photos of him at John Browns with the Union Leaders and other local figures.

He had been writing a book on the whole affair at the time of his death and I have a 50 page transcript detailing the revolt day by day, which I am working on developing and finishing, with more details about the history and events surrounding it. As I said I have mountains of his papers regarding it and have been researching with the Cunard archives at Liverpool. For the final area of research, I will need to go to the National Archives at Kew as there is the only copy of the Parliamentary Report into the Q3 affair there, but once thats done, I should be able to proceed, so if anybody has anything that could be of use, I would be grateful to hear from you.



Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #12 on: Sep 03, 2010, 12:33 PM »
Your grandfather certainly did play a role in the cancellation of the Q3 Project and we do have him to thank. But others such as some directors of the company should also be credited. Cunard actually awarded the contract to Vickers Armstrong and Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson. It was this group and not John Brown who would have built Q3.

Here are my research notes into why Q3 was cancelled:

Many of the young Directors were still unhappy about the type of ship that was being selected and found an ally in Sir John Brocklebank who was also concluding that Q3 was the wrong ship.

Two senior executives who felt that the whole Q3 concept was ‘crazy’ drew up proposals for a twin-screw liner which could go cruising in the winter and operate on the North Atlantic in the profitable summer months. They believed Q3 would be a ‘write-off’ if she did not go cruising. The management rejected this paper. The executives persisted and, eventually, met Sir John who explained that no such paper had ever been submitted to him by the management and he was in full sympathy with their views. Eventually the paper went to the Board but it was put on ice - tradition had triumphed again.

One shareholder, Raymond Gregory, mounted a six-month struggle to persuade Cunard to scrap plans to replace Queen Mary, claiming that Q3 would be a “gigantic waste ands ruin Cunard”. After a motion of his to scrap the project was dismissed in June, he wrote to 20,000 shareholders in July 1961 telling them what was at stake and asking them to vote against Q3. More than 16% replied to the letter – 4,227 in support of Gregory and 297 wanting Q3. Those against represented £1.5 million worth of Cunard shares.

Sir John Brocklebank met with Ernest Marples (Minister of Transport) on 17 October 1961 to discuss the future of Q3.

The Cunard Board met to discuss the situation on 18 October 1961. Sir John reappraised the whole situation - dwindling passenger numbers, increasing losses and the potential actual cost of Q3 by the time of build.

On 19 October 1961, Sir John reluctantly announced that Cunard could not see its way clear to order the Q3 - rising labour and material costs had increased the price of the ship by several million pounds and the Government loan was not sufficient to cover the escalator clauses in the shipbuilding tenders. The plans were therefore postponed indefinitely as trading conditions could not justify replacing the Queens by similar tonnage and it was back to the drawing boards. (He would later describe the decision to build Q3 would have been a 'disaster'. History would prove him right - Cunard had narrowly averted creating perhaps the greatest floating white elephant since Brunel's Great Eastern).

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #13 on: Sep 03, 2010, 01:00 PM »
I also have a copy of the Q3 Parliamentary Report.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #14 on: Sep 03, 2010, 05:37 PM »
Thank-you L Gregory for posting such an interesting story. I am sure you will find lots of interest in the book you are writing from members of the forum and you will find information that may be of use to your research.

You mentioned a set of photos of your grandfather at John Brown's. Is this something you could post on the forum?

Looking forward to hearing more on this topic. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 10922
  • Total likes: 10875
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #15 on: Sep 03, 2010, 07:31 PM »
Amazing stuff, thank you!!

Are you going to publish the book and if so, how?  what angle are you going for?
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Online Peter Mugridge

  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 3121
  • Total likes: 2124
  • At Mach 2 three days after being on QE2...
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #16 on: Sep 03, 2010, 11:26 PM »
I think I would be very interested in buying a copy of this book. :)
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 10922
  • Total likes: 10875
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #17 on: Sep 04, 2010, 04:35 PM »
I would like to know, in fairly simple terms...

(1) What advances would Q3 have had over Q1 ?
(2) What advances did Q4 have over Q3 ?
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #18 on: Sep 04, 2010, 06:03 PM »
I think advances between Q3 and Q1 would have mainly been advances in technology / machinery.

And Q4 was more advanced because she ended up as a two-class, dual purpose, smaller ship.

Although Q3 was rejected on the whole for being the wrong ship for the jet age, her design embodied a number of progressive elements which survived. Indeed the Q4 design owed an important part of its origin to Q3. The most progressive ideas in Q3's layout and planning were brought forward and descaled to the reduced overall dimensions of Q4:

• Much of the work done by Cunard's design department in reducing structural complexity and weight in Q3 would ultimately prove vital in Q4.

• The final funnel shape of Q4 was based on initial work undertaken on that for Q3 which is somewhat resembled.

• A number of new ideas which appeared on Q4 had originally been developed for Q3: the relocation of dining rooms and crew messing facilities etc.

Q3 propulsion machinery designs were resurrected and modified until the machinery for Q4 was finally chosen. Reliability, simplicity and efficiency were the watchwords.

As a result of the experience gained in planning the machinery for Q3, it was decided to specify turbines of Pametrada design, driving two propellers and maintain an average speed of 28.5 knots.

Offline Bob C.

Re: QE2's 1961 False Start - 'Q3'
« Reply #19 on: Sep 04, 2010, 11:38 PM »
    I agree with Flagship that technology was the main difference between Q1, 2, 3 and 4 but with the decline of the ocean liner  and the rise of the jet airplane as the primary source of transportation between Europe and the USA, the entire "ocean liner" concept was diminishing quickly.  I believe it was fading even more quickly than Cunard surmized in the early 60's. 
   
    Reading Potter and Frost and comparing the Cunard liner with today's ships, there are many obvious carryovers from Q1 and 2 into QE2.  Even though Q3 was eventually rejected, Potter and Frost's QE2 book shows that the "old school" trans-Atlantic liner mentality played heavily into QE2's design with much of it flying in the face of the modernizing "jet-age"world. 
     
    It was a time of global transition, technologically, but by today's business standards, Cunard was behind the power curve in developing QE2 to keep up with the changing times.  In my opinion there was far too much what I'll call "traditional liner" momentum.  In other words, Cunard either lacked the ability to read the future effectively or accept the need to change to stay competitive in the market or perhaps a bit of both.  About the only that saved QE2 was her cruising ability.  There was a brief period in the early 70's where Cunard made a true profit but QE2 and Cunard faced hard financial times in the latter part of the 70's and 80's.  National Geographic's "Superliner: Twilight of an Era" stated that QE2 was facing hard financial times with the lack of trans-Atlantic passengers and the skyrocketing price of oil and that her future was uncertain.
   
    But thanks to the 86/87 tranformational refit, QE2 became more of a cruise ship and less of a liner enabling her to sail into the 21st century and become the icon of the sea that she is.  Don't get me wrong, I love our old girl but she was essentially behind the times the day she slid down the ways. 
« Last Edit: Sep 05, 2010, 01:55 AM by Bob C. »

 

Engine start

Started by bigbobBoard Technical Matters

Replies: 3
Views: 1814
Should We Start a QE2 Interior Photo Gallery?

Started by Bob C.Board Service Life (1969 - 2008)

Replies: 5
Views: 2403
ss Michelangelo & ss Raffaelo the false twins

Started by luzparisBoard Ships

Replies: 18
Views: 13214