Author Topic: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)  (Read 3967 times)

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Online Rob Lightbody

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Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« on: Jul 21, 2011, 06:59 PM »
I would like to understand more about the specific roles and duties undertaken by Cunard designers and engineers in Liverpool (and elsewhere?), and by the ones employed by Browns in Clydebank.

The wikipedia article makes it sound like Clydebank simply assembled the ship, but I know that is not true - what I do not know, is the specifics.


How far did Cunard's design go?  Are we talking about an extremely detailed blue print showing every porthole and flange and rivet and door or was it more general than that? 

At what point did Browns take over?

How much work was required to "make the design a reality"?  What changes were required?

The precise shape of the hull, and the tank tests etc - Cunard, Browns or both?

Clever new features such as the pipework going through the roof frames, allowing for an extra deck and weightsaving - Cunard or Browns?

How much input did Browns have into the design and development before work started on the hull?  How much input did cunard have after work started?

And finally... in the years following QE2's completion, what happened to the two teams?  Browns never designed another large passenger ship.  Did Cunard?  And if Cunard did - what were those designers doing to keep busy immediately after QE2?


Passionate about QE2 for over 30 years.

Offline Michael Gallagher

Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #1 on: Jul 26, 2011, 08:55 PM »
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.

Offline Bob C.

Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #2 on: Jul 26, 2011, 10:43 PM »
That was an outstanding brief answer!

Offline Twynkle

Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #3 on: Aug 06, 2011, 12:10 AM »
That was an outstanding brief answer!

Yes, Bob
A great answer to a very good question!
Thanks for this.
Flagship, do you know when the Lloyds Register people (assessors/surveyors) became involved?
Dan Wallace also worked with Lloyds.
QE2 has been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 9 whole years... she seriously needs to be earning her keep....

Offline Rod

Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #4 on: Aug 06, 2011, 12:15 AM »
And that is how I was instructed in it.
One thing you have to realise is that what is on paper will not always work. Whether it be original build or refit. So when they go to do something and there is an "OOPS" then a new price for the mod has to go in to be approved etc etc.
Quite often, say you had 2 different naval architects working on the same area...for whatever reason, communication was not the best. At the last minute, you might have to put a door somewhere else that takes a whole new design change.

Offline Siobhan M

Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #5 on: Sep 05, 2011, 07:25 PM »
I really appreciate the comment re the wikipedia entry on Clydebank - my research elsewhere has shown more or less the same.

My uncle, John (Ian) McCallum (1920-1995) was Chief Ship Designer of the QE2, but he worked for John Browns. In books on the QE2 I've only ever found mention of a chap called Dan Wallace. I've never seen any mention of my uncle. It never occurred to me that it was a question of Cunard / John Browns. I'm not a naval architecture specialist, but I can tell you that he (my uncle) is particularly responsible for the hull. He qualified in naval architecture at Glasgow University with a First; he lectured for a few years at Glasgow university, before working for John Browns. After John Browns, he became Chief Ship Surveyor for Lloyd's, retiring in 1981. He then became an expert witness.

It makes me sad that there's no mention of him, because my Grandfather fought hard to get him into the private schools which ultimately led him to Glasgow University, and this involved trekking all over Scotland, researching the family name back to the McCallum clan for a clan bursary - which, back in the 1930s, can't have been the easiest. Ian, to his credit, also won lots of scholarships to get where he got. We are very proud of him.  And I'm so glad to have found your post, and also to be able to give you a little bit more information about the QE2 and one of her unsung John Brown heros. The information on Ian (his official name is John, but family and friends all called him Ian, being the Scottish equivalent of John) can be verified via his Who was Who entry (and prior to 1995, Who's Who), as well as various specialist journals on Google Books, including an entry from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. I did once upon a time write to Glasgow University because they were attributing the work to some other chap. But they weren't terribly interested... Time to put history right methinks.

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #6 on: Sep 07, 2011, 08:26 PM »
I really appreciate the comment re the wikipedia entry on Clydebank - my research elsewhere has shown more or less the same.

My uncle, John (Ian) McCallum (1920-1995) was Chief Ship Designer of the QE2, but he worked for John Browns. In books on the QE2 I've only ever found mention of a chap called Dan Wallace. I've never seen any mention of my uncle. It never occurred to me that it was a question of Cunard / John Browns. I'm not a naval architecture specialist, but I can tell you that he (my uncle) is particularly responsible for the hull. He qualified in naval architecture at Glasgow University with a First; he lectured for a few years at Glasgow university, before working for John Browns. After John Browns, he became Chief Ship Surveyor for Lloyd's, retiring in 1981. He then became an expert witness.

It makes me sad that there's no mention of him, because my Grandfather fought hard to get him into the private schools which ultimately led him to Glasgow University, and this involved trekking all over Scotland, researching the family name back to the McCallum clan for a clan bursary - which, back in the 1930s, can't have been the easiest. Ian, to his credit, also won lots of scholarships to get where he got. We are very proud of him.  And I'm so glad to have found your post, and also to be able to give you a little bit more information about the QE2 and one of her unsung John Brown heros. The information on Ian (his official name is John, but family and friends all called him Ian, being the Scottish equivalent of John) can be verified via his Who was Who entry (and prior to 1995, Who's Who), as well as various specialist journals on Google Books, including an entry from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. I did once upon a time write to Glasgow University because they were attributing the work to some other chap. But they weren't terribly interested... Time to put history right methinks.

Fantastic to hear from you, thanks so much for your posting!  Would love to hear even more. Do you have any documents etc relating to this?

I feel that the John Browns part of the story is partly lost in the mists of time (and in the complexities of digging into university archives etc).
Passionate about QE2 for over 30 years.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #7 on: Sep 08, 2011, 10:15 AM »
I was so pleased to read Siobhan' interesting post about John (Ian) McCallum.  It is information like this that can get lost in time if it is not highlighted.

The Glasgow University Archive Department has John Brown's records (rescued from a skip when the shipyard was being demolished).  I wonder if they have any information/records on your uncle's involvement?   When I visited last year they had minutes of meetings that you could view.  There may a record of your uncle's involvement in the design of the ship if the relevant minutes have been saved. 
I was only eighteen the first time I stepped onboard QE2 in 1968. She was a thoroughly modern lady and I fell in love with her.

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Who did what? (Cunard & John Browns)
« Reply #8 on: Sep 17, 2011, 04:18 PM »
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.


I was sure I had replied to this posting, but just realised I never did.

Thank you for such an excellent, comprehensive answer!  Amazing to hear all the people and layers involved in all the levels of the decision making.
Passionate about QE2 for over 30 years.

 

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