Author Topic: QE2 Queen Elizabeth 2, the Authorised Story by Neil Potter and Jack Frost (1969)  (Read 3180 times)

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Offline Mauretania1907

An older book I have QE2 Queen Elizabeth 2, the Authorised Story by Neil Potter and Jack Frost. Published George G Harrap and Co Ltd, London 1969. They also did books about the Mary and Elizabeth. The QE2 book was put out very eaRly in the ship's career, so has more about the whys and wherefores of her building, rather than her later life. I quote :

"As Mr Lennon himself has said, -we have tried to make her so that people will not think she's just another floating hotel. We want to make them feel they are on a great ship, enjoying a unique experience" pg 155. Well, I think she more than proved she was not just a hotel - even now.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 11:21 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline Twynkle

Another older book I have QE2 Queen Elizabeth 2, the Authorised Story by Neil Potter and Jack Frost. Published Geoprge G Harrap and Co Ltd, London 1969.
Mauritania1907 - Thank you - isn't this a good book?!
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Alan Snelson

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A book you will find interesting Adam is "Queen Elizabeth 2 The Authorised Story" by Neil Potter and Jack Frost. There are sometimes copies for sale on Amazon. It is well worth a read if you can get hold of a copy.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Adam Hodson

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Thanks Alan, I may have a look at it sometime. Heading off topic but I would also like to get hold of some of the other books on the QE2 and Cunard so may try and get a copy then.
"The QE2 is one of the last great transatlantic liners, and arguably the most famous liner in the world"

"QE2 and Concorde, a partnership that lasted almost 30 years... two stunning pieces of engineering, never to be forgotten!"

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

This book is mentioned in many other topics in the Forum -- as a Search will reveal.

Would anyone who has read it, like to add to the description here? It seems that the quality of the book is not in any doubt :) .

Some Forum members might even know the authors or their family members.

Offline Karen Aked

It's good to see that the books of Neil Potter & Jack Frost are so popular.  Yes indeed there are family members of these authors on this forum and I'm very proud to be one of them 😀

Offline June Ingram

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Awesome, Karen, please tell us more.  June   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Karen Aked

Hello June.
Ask me any questions you like and I will do my best to answer😀. I have many memories of Jack as he is was my Grandfather 😀

Offline June Ingram

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I will do that, Karen.  You must have wonderful memories !  June   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Karen Aked

I have memories of him as my grandfather who was a very well known and admired journalist and author really. As he was always away travelling we weren't able to see him as often as we wished but he was a big man, and he loved his cigars and crystallised ginger. 
I am currently researching Jack's side of the family tree.  What do you or any of your colleagues know about him
please June?
I see the Potter & Frost books are clearly of interests to some members on here but does anyone actually know anything about Jack?? By the way his name wasn't Jack 😀


Online Isabelle Prondzynski

This book was the prize in the January photo competition, and is about to be sent to harev, the prizewinner. Before it leaves my bookshelf, however, I would like to write a little review about it.

This book was published in 1969, just as QE2 started her active life. It is now available only as a second-hand book, or, if it can be found new, it would be very expensive. Mine, interestingly, used to belong to Cheshire County Library, where it was registered with number 387.243 on 21 January 1969 (i.e. they must have bought it as soon as it came out). It was later (no date given) officially withdrawn for sale from the library, and I bought it through Amazon Marketplace.

This is one of the most interesting QE2 books that I have read. It is about all the history leading up to QE2 finally starting off on her career, and begins with the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. In the earlier chapters, it sets out the need to replace these beloved liners, the arrival and growth of transatlantic air travel, the financial situation of Cunard and any possible help that might come from the British government.

A regular transatlantic liner service would no longer be profitable in the changed circumstances brought about by jet travel. It would be necessary to build a smaller ship that could provide a liner service in the summer season and would cruise during the winter months.

Quote from:  page 16
After carrying out many design studies they concluded that a ship of 75,000 tons was the only answer; being the smallest and slowest vessel capable of meeting their Atlantic requirements throughout the whole year.

I was somewhat surprised to read "smallest and slowest" -- not the adjectives we normally associate with QE2!

The reader is taken through numerous studies, first on the type of ship required, and then on the design of the ship, the number of classes to be provided for (three or two), the shape of the ship, the shape of the funnel, and much more. It is a fascinating read, very well written, and despite all the details, a real page-turner.

Economics and finance intervene on several occasions. Cunard were in increasing financial difficulties. They sold off the two Queens, but that was not enough to finance the new liner. More ships had to follow, and finally only the Franconia and Carmania survived as their sole passenger ships while QE2 was being built. The seamen's strike of 1966 only served to increase the financial losses even more. Cunard ended up by putting all their eggs into the one basket, i.e. QE2. Government loans had to be negotiated with difficulty, but were finally received and used.

In these circumstances, it is extraordinary how QE2 was built to be the absolute best. The best designers were chosen, the best materials, and again lots of studies and experimentation to get it all perfect. The more I read, the more I regretted that I never saw the outcome of all these plans and all this work.

Quote from:  page 162
If anyone thinks that building a super, sophisticated liner is something like an artist creating a vast canvas with a few majestic sweeps of the brush, perhaps this [story] will have disillusioned you. It is something which takes years, as we have shown, years of planning, of discussion, of argument, of creation; years of the most meticulous drawing and attention to minute details.

Both crew and passengers of the other Cunard ships significantly contributed to the design. They came up with lots of ideas to make the ship more pleasant, more beautiful and above all more economical. This allowed the ratio of crew to passengers to be considerably reduced in comparison with the older ships, without taking away from the luxury and the service offered.

QE2 really was all new. An experiment in the best way to counter jet travel, and an experiment in anticipating the future fashion of resorts on ships, of using a ship not so much as a means of transport, but a resort worth travelling to.

All this can only give a flavour of the book. It is full of contemporary quotes, well researched, and a pleasure to read. I would go so far as to say it should be an essential part of one's QE2 library.

What this book does not mention, is the pilfering of inventory by the workers fitting her out. Nor does it mention the turbine trouble on QE2's shaking-down cruise.

Michael will be able to tell us whether other mentions are missing, and whether the facts are correct. But it certainly reads very well researched, and in addition it is "The Authorised Story", so a good deal of fact checking must have gone into it.

Highly recommended.

Offline pete cain

This book is a must, if ever it becomes available, there is so much information contained within, it is in my opinion a very neccessary' refer to' book when looking for the behind the scenes on building & design of QE2.
   Page 147 for example, when refering to the Brittania Restaurant,  ''Dennis Lennon has made use of actual anchor moulds from the ship-yard as a decorative feature''.
Didn't know that , again one asks any photos around, what happened to them (just skipped in a refit????). 

I realise that I'm half way to doing my end of book review--ooops, but when June gets this I'm going to ask her to post her selection of favourite quotes..

Offline June Ingram

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Favourite quotes might just be the whole book !   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline pete cain

    I feel compelled to contribute to this topic having read this book only once (should be at least three times).
      This is a book which could not be written now, the authors Neil Potter & Jack Frost must've been inspired
   by something, don't know what, let's call it  QE2.
   So much information contained within a small volume, history abounds, it ought to be a free &  available resourse on line , but hey ho.
  I generalise here because so many other people before me have contributed, Isabell as usual in her forensic way says it all, me in a romantic sort of way , trying to square the circle.
  The hero, The Villain,  Sir Basil Smallpiece,  in my eyes the hero because , he bet the house (& his shirt ) mortguaged the fleet, sold off the beloved Queens, to bring about QE2.
  Knew it was bad but never realised how bad it was for Cunard (really bad) before reading this book, he read the runes regarding   Transatlantic Ferry/ Cruise Liner- brilliantly the rest as they say is history.
   I wish this book was a companion to the forum, readilly available for all to all to access.
     On its way to June, hope it arrives safely, she can contribute as & when..

Offline pete cain
£10.00 for a first edition  in Helensborough for goodness sake,
 however the 2nd edition books are very reasonable from
I'm not an advocate for this site but anybody interested might just want to think about this fine book,
 & we can all have a discussion

Offline June Ingram

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I am currently reading this book now. It was generously sent to me by Pete Cain.

It is truly an amazing book, every word in and of itself carries a huge meaning. It is the type of read where one hangs on every word to grasp the full meaning, and then one goes back and reads it again !

It is truly one of the most amazing books about QE2 that I have read. Since it was published in 1969, one can "feel" all the hopes and aspirations for the new ship !
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !


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