Author Topic: George Parker - Shipyard Manager Upper Clyde Shipbuilders from 1968  (Read 3968 times)

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Online Michael Gallagher

George Houston Parker (SHIPBUILDER – John Brown’s Clydebank, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders) passed away peacefully at home in Somerset on 27th April 2011 aged 82 years.  Beloved husband of Joyce and much loved fatherof Carolyn, Cameron, Alan and step-daughter Melanie along with 7 grandchildren.   Funeral at Weston-super-Mare Crematorium Tuesday 10th May at 1p.m.  Family flowers only.  Donations, if desired, to Prostate Cancer Charity c/o George Williams Funeral Directors, Penn Farm, Redcliffe St., Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3PF tel. 01934 742958.

GEORGE PARKER one of the most well-known and respected names in the Shipbuilding world passed away  on Wednesday 27th April aged 82 years. 

“I was born in a house overlooking the River Tay in the East end of Dundee on 10th December 1928.
From my bedroom window he was able to see the shipyard with its six slipways stretched along the riverbank.  The river at this point is some 2 miles wide and across from the shipyard rise the rolling green hills of Fife”. (Quoted from the first chapter of his book – AT THE SHARP END!).

Mr. Parker spent over 40 years of his life in shipbuilding (following his father into the industry and also his grandfather who managed to clock up an unbelievable 62 years building ships).  He started as a ship’s draughtsman with Alexander  Stephen’s, of Linthouse and took a B.Sc., in  Naval architecture at Glasgow University.  In 1955 he moved to Lithgow’s at Port Glasgow, where he was assistant general manager until he joined John Brown’s. 

I t was at John Brown’s Clydebank shipyard that he held responsibility for the construction of the QE2 only up to the launch ceremony  (after which John Rannie was appointed Special Director in charge of the QE2).   As was the custom at a launch the lady sponsor received a gift for carrying out the duty of launching the vessel and in the case of the QE2 – Queen Elizabeth was the sponsor (and at the time no-one knew the name of the ship – it was a very well kept secret).

In George’s book “AT THE SHARP END” he quotes a lovely story about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the reception after the launch of QE2:-

“The invited guests made their way to the brand-new workers canteen where champagne and cake was served.  The Chairmen of the owners and the builders jointly presented the Queen with a speedboat, which they revealed by drawing back curtains hanging behind the top table.  This beautiful craft was gleaming in dark blue and white paint and had been specially constructed to fit the davits of the Royal Yacht Britannia (another John Brown - Clydebank product).

After thanking the Chairmen for the elegant gift, the Queen remarked – “I think we will name this ship “Brown” and paint it in Cunard colours”.  In aloud aside, the Duke of Edinburgh said – “No, we’ll call it “Cunard” and paint it brown!” 

Offline Janice Naylor

flagship - Great story about QE2's "dad," may he rest in peace.  Thanks for posting it.

Whenever I hear a sea story I think of the first time I saw the QE2 and the great adventures that followed.

Offline Hugh Morrison

A very pleasant obituary to George H. Parker.
He tried very hard when he was at Clydebank to modernise the thinking of the management. Alas he failed and was essentially kicked off the job after the launch - probably unjustifiably!
In his book 'At the Sharp End' he is very critical of the Clydebank yard management and of what he saw to be very poor organisation.
He moved on to Swan Hunter and there managed the building of the cruise ship 'Vistfjord'. The success of the building of the Vistafjord was, he said, based on what he had learned at Clydebank on how not to do things.


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