Author Topic: An Earlier Visit to Liverpool  (Read 2836 times)

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Offline Michael Gallagher

An Earlier Visit to Liverpool
« on: Jul 31, 2013, 08:55 PM »
We all know that QE2's maiden call to Liverpool on Tuesday 24 July 1990 has gone down in Merseyside history - they say more than a million flocked to the Mersey that day to catch a glimpse of the first Cunard Queen on the River. QE2 was on her first Round Britain cruise as part of Cunard's 150th anniversary. The next day she would return to the Clyde for the first time in over 21 years and three days later (27 July) HM The Queen would board for the first time since 1969.

But it all could have been so different...

A plan for QE2 to call at Liverpool in 1984 can be found in Cunard papers dated 29 April 1982. According to the paper, Michael Heseltine MP, Minister of Environment, approached Trafalgar House Chairman Nigel Broackes about the ship making a call at the port to coincide with the International Garden Festival in Liverpool in early May 1984.

Significant problems had to be overcome to facilitate such a visit but Cunard met with the Merseyside Development Board and the Director of the International Garden Festival. The meeting agreed that the Merseyside Development Board would put pressure on the port to make it possible for QE2 to berth right in the centre of the city at the Landing Stage. Cunard would consider having the ship berthed there for three days. It was also discussed that the timing of QE2’s visit would be fixed at the same time The Queen was planned to visit Liverpool and she would board the ship during this period.

So not only an earlier maiden call to Liverpool but an earlier return visit of The Queen was possible.

Offline riskygizmo

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Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: An Earlier Visit to Liverpool
« Reply #2 on: Aug 01, 2013, 05:49 PM »
How interesting to read that even a "working class hero" also found QE2 to be an attractive proposition. It is an exciting thing to imagine if it had become a reality, as that would have been during the time I was working aboard.

I remember back in 1980. We were mid Atlantic and, as was our custom, the team of four photographers met up in the Midships bar for a couple of bracers before going in to shoot the Columbia and Grills. The last to arrive, a guy called Steve Dean, came in and slumped down on the seat and said "I can't f****** believe it, John Lennon's been shot"
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Offline Graham Taylor

Re: An Earlier Visit to Liverpool
« Reply #3 on: Aug 01, 2013, 11:42 PM »
I remember that day well, I was working as asst Crew Chief Steward so was based in that little cramped office just forward of the crew mess on one deck. Walking out through the forward hatch by the main crew staircase onto the fo'c'stle deck I encountered an amazing sight. The ship had turned and had come to anchor mid-river opposite the Three Graces; both banks were lined with thousands upon thousands of people, complimented by a large proportion of crew and passengers out on the open decks.  In those days we still had a largely British crew of which Liverpool was well represented. I remember commenting upon the crowds to which one of the Scousers quipped back in that wonderful self-deprecating humour they have: "Well that's because everyone's unemployed, so have nothing else to do!"

One of the Mersey ferries was being used to transport everyone shoreside and I took the opportunity to take a break and slip ashore in uniform. There was a wonderful party atmosphere and I was stopped repeatedly for photos. All in all it was a memorable day.
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Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: An Earlier Visit to Liverpool
« Reply #4 on: Aug 03, 2013, 12:39 PM »
This is fantastic information Michael, thanks so much!  Who'd have thought it.

Was it the Falklands that scuppered these plans?



I'm amazed to discover that we don't actually have a topic for her actual first visit to Liverpool!
« Last Edit: Aug 03, 2013, 12:40 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline BlueSparky

Re: An Earlier Visit to Liverpool
« Reply #5 on: Apr 26, 2019, 11:18 AM »
She was in the morning I drove my wife to hospital for the birth of our first child, emotions high that day in 1995!

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: An Earlier Visit to Liverpool
« Reply #6 on: Apr 26, 2019, 03:04 PM »
So not only an earlier maiden call to Liverpool but an earlier return visit of The Queen was possible.

What happened, Michael, to have made it impossible at that time?

Was it, as Rob suggested, the Falklands?