Great questions Rob and below is only a brief answer.
Cunard’s design team was headed by Chief Naval Architect Dan Wallace (1916-1979) and Technical Director Tom Kameen (1916-). The former was responsible for the overall design and construction of the Q4 and, the latter, for the mechanical operations – including everything from the engine room to the galley, the plumbing and the air conditioning. Working with Cunard’s directorate, their initial job was to establish the optimum size, capacity and speed of the new liner. Wallace had begun his career as an apprentice draughtsman at John Brown’s shipyard in 1931 and the first ship on which he worked there was the Queen Mary. In 1951, he joined Cunard as their Assistant Naval Architect, later succeeding Robert K. Wood as Chief Naval Architect in 1964.
Kameen had started his apprenticeship at Cammell Laird’s yard in Birkenhead in 1932, joining Cunard four years later as an engineer officer. In this role, he served aboard Aquitania, Berengaria and Queen Mary. During the latter stages of the Second World War, he was stationed in New York, serving the Ministry of War Transport there, before returning to Cunard in 1945 as the line’s Assistant Superintendent Engineer in Southampton. He became the Technical Director in 1963.
Dan Wallace sat at his dining table at home on 21 October 1961 and started to develop the initial specifications for the new ship: size, propulsions etc.
May 1964: secret tests were being carried out at the Ship research Laboratory on a 22-foot long wax model of the hull of the proposed new ship. The most significant development from the tests was the provision of a slightly bulbous bow to reduce pitching in rough seas. The model had already been tried in the 1,300-fot long tank at Feltham, the longest of its kind in the world.
At the end of August 1964 Cunard was in a position to invite tenders for Q4.
Cunard issued the tender document to the yards on 9 September 1964. That consisted of 550 closely-typed foolscap pages of plans and specifications. The picture shows Ronald Marshbank (in charge of the Post Room at the Cunard HQ in Liverpool) guarding the tender documents and plans prior to posting them that day.
It was perhaps at this point that John Brown (and the other yards) could get involved in the details and they had to come up with a price of the new ship. Up until then what existed of the new ship had mainly been the work of Cunard.
30 November 1964: The tenders from the remaining three shipbuilders were opened.
John Brown were the preferred bidders but their price was still too high for Cunard. Together both companies went through the specifications and managed to reduce the machinery (main and auxiliary) costs by £500,000 and the hull and electrical price by £1.5 million.
30 December 1964: Contract signed with John Brown. From then both companies would work together.
During January 1965 a new General Arrangement plan, embodying the various economies and changes in passenger accommodation, was developed. This work would continue for the first six months of 1965. Of course many details were still outstanding and the passenger decks were redone in May 1966 when the decision to have the ship two-classes was finally taken.
Weight-saving had always been an issue for the new ship and Cunard so the things like the plastic piping had been developed by shipowner and shipyard and installed in Sylvania during her build as an experiment ten years earlier.
The funnel design was not decided until after endless work with designer James Gardner in conjunction with Cunard’s technical department and the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington in Middlesex. The final design was not fixed until 1967. The final mast design (again Gardner) was not fixed until September 1967.
So, all in all an effort on the part of many.
After QE2 entered service Wallace and Kameen headed up a new Cunard Technical Department and their next project was the Cunard Ambassador and Cunard Adventurer. The services of Wallace and Kameen were terminated when Trafalgar House bought Cunard in 1971.