Author Topic: QE2 Slides preserved and researched by Brian Price, Cruise Director.  (Read 3152 times)

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Online Lynda Bradford

Brian Price, who joined QE2 in May 1974 as Cruise Director, shares this fascinating story of how a collection of QE2 slides showing the building of QE2 came into his possession and how he has kept the memory of QE2 alive by presenting these slides on cruises and to groups interested in Maritime History

Origin of Slides:

Having served as Cruise Director on Cunard Adventurer and Ambassador, I was promoted to Cruise Director Queen Elizabeth 2 commencing 7 May 1974 in order to prepare for the upcoming Premier World Cruise.
During the summer of 1974, Terry Conroy, who had previously been CD of QE2 and now worked ashore in a management capacity, came to my office while the ship was alongside in Southampton, and threw a box of 80 slides on my desk and said ‘These might be some use. They’re just taking up space in my desk!’ He said.  And that was all.

During a rare quiet moment on the westbound crossing I took a close look at the slides.
They comprised a unique visual record of the ship being built. The pictures had been commissioned by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (previously John Brown’s Shipyard), and this was a set that had been passed on to Cunard Southampton, and then on to me.

Over the course of the next month or so, I researched each slide with various engineer and navigational officers so that I was confident that I knew everything that could be seen in each slide, and the intricate function of every part of the engines, hull and bridge.

I then presented the slides in lecture format on every crossing and cruise of QE2, to a usually full house. It wasn’t until after I retired that I got an after-talk question that I was not sure of the answer. It was to do with the Michell Thrust Bearings and their physics, and so I contacted the Company. They were amazed to hear from me, because this was now after the ship had been re-engined. Michell, were very helpful and also gave me a set of drawings and a full explanation of the function of the bearings.

Forum Members who attended the QE2 Story's QE2 50 years conference at Clydebank Town Hall in 2017 will remember the entertaining presentation that Brian gave to the audience.  Below he outlines his fantastic repertoire of talks:

Since I retired I have included a talk entitled ‘The Pride of the Clyde’ in my repertoire of talks.
A Laugh on the Ocean Wave
A Day in the Life of a Gigolo
Worse Things Happen at Sea
The Pride of the Clyde.
These talk have been popular with many organisations here in the north west.
The most prestigious venue at which I have spoken (apart from the Glasgow talk) has been The Liverpool Nautical Research Society where I have presented talks on a few occasions.
The original slides are still in my possession.....however I have digitised them in order to preserve the quality.

Brian has agreed to let the QE2 Story post some of his photos with background information.  Look out for the first instalment that I will post later today.
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline June Ingram

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This is wonderful news, Lynda !  I, for one, am really looking forward to Brian's posts.   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

That's an exciting contribution! I am very much looking forward to the slides and the technical details.

I wonder will we be asking any unusual questions about them? Brian Price will be sure to find us the answer :) .

Online Lynda Bradford

I hope you all enjoy the first instalment and the first two pictures that Brian has allowed me to post on his behalf:

Picture 1:
The keel of 736 was laid on 5 Jul 1965, two days later than the scheduled date. It was rumoured that the piece of the hull selected to represent the entire keel was too heavy for the crane.

(In the 60’s shipbuilding was at the very beginning of modular construction, rather than bring singular plates out of a workshop and weld or rivet them in place, larger parts of the ship are premade in a workshop and then brought to the slipway by cranes and welded on to the hull. Today, ships are constructed in enormous modules which comprise several decks along a proportional length of the hull.)

The slipway used to build QE2 was the same slipway that was used for her predecessors, The RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth. The revolutionary hull design was such that an aluminium superstructure would be fastened to a steel hull. This would provide a weight saving which would translate into more interior space for passengers and crew.

The estimated build cost at this stage was £25.5 million, but like all projects, this escalated prior to completion.
The chief designer of the yard build number 736 project was Dan Wallace.

The ship’s name would not be known until the launch, and the yard number lived on in the early days of the ship with a public room being named The 736 Club - a nightclub initially, which became the casino and then the Queen’s Grill.

Picture 2:
A good example of a preconstructed module, extremely modest by today’s standards, is the rear section of the propeller shaft housing. This is where the propeller shafts exit the hull. QE2 had just two main propulsion propellers, each with six fixed blades. Her predecessors had four propellers with four blades each. The propeller shafts were 76.2 meters long and 61 cm in diameter and were installed in sections enabling easy replacement if required.

Looking forward to lots of questions and discussion on these fabulous photos.
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Fascinating! At the moment, I am simply enjoying the story and looking forward to the next instalment.

Offline June Ingram

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The photos are marvelous !  And the descriptions contain a wealth of information. 

Where in the shipyard was the workshop located where the modular units were constructed ?

Many thanks and looking forward to more !   :)

QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Lynda Bradford

What a treat to see the second instalment from Brian Price with two fantastic photos of QE2 being built.

Thank-you to Brian for making these photos plus the information he has researched available to the QE2 Story members.  I have added some links to forum topics to further enhance QE2's Story

736 Midship and Deck One and Two

No 736 midship’s section is now complete up to Deck One and Deck Two. Some of the most expensive cabins were to be located on these decks, that is until the Penthouse Suites were added five years after her maiden voyage.

This view over the stern of 736  shows that there has been very little work carried out so far on the stern  (or the bow), so that physical weight of the midship’s section will establish the stability of the ship while she sits on the slipway.

Today, most ships are built in drydocks, and when the hull is completed, the drydock is simply flooded and the ship floats (hopefully). Not nearly so much fun as a slipway.... or then there’s the ultimate excitement of a ‘sideways slipway launch’ such as those carried out at Myer Weerft Shipyard on the River Ems in Germany.
In the background......the River Clyde.

Bulbous Bow

The bulbous bow of 736 is very modest by modern standards. Today this same appendage would be cigar shaped and measure about 8 meters long.
Until just a few years before 736’s design, the bow of a ship was always knife edge sharp to cut through the sea, but then maritime hull designers discovered that having a big lump at the bow reduced the waves that flowed down the side of the hull, pushed the pressure of the sea away from the hull and over all increased the efficiency and stability of the hull as it passed through the sea resulting in and overall fuel cost saving.

You may like to also have a look at the forum's topic on the Bulbous Bow where there are more photos from the build stage
Incidents involving the Bulbous Bow

There were several incidents involving the bulbous bow of QE2.
On a crossing from Southampton to Boston (for a Crimson Travel Charter) the ship ran into heavy seas, and the force of inertia broke the anchor chain on the bow anchor. It should be noted that in early service QE2 had four anchors: at the bow on the port side, starboard side and one right at the bow and then at the stern (starboard side) there was another which was hardly ever used. Each anchor weighed 12.5 tons.  It was the bow anchor chain that broke, and the anchor dropped into the Atlantic Ocean and is still there today, but on it’s way down it pierced the bulbous bow. The compartment was sealed off and the ship continued to Boston, where she was trimmed so that the hole was above the waterline and the damage could be repaired. The bow anchor was never replaced.

See also topic on QE2 Anchors    ........ and Hull Patches
Collision with Whale

A few years later coming across the bar at the entrance to the Tagus River and entering the harbour at Lisbon, QE2 sadly collided with a whale. The ship was moving quite slowly at the time and the collision was thought to be unavoidable and perhaps also a contributory fact was that the whale was thought to be quite old. It had been impossible to remove the carcass and the ship unfortunately berthed with the whale wrapped around the bow. It was then removed. Nevertheless, the press came on board and interviewed the Captain..... it was almost as if we had run over someone’s cat.

The topic Whale of a Drama has discussions on this unfortunate incident.

Brian Price is giving forum members a unique opportunity to see some of his collection of photos that he uses for his lectures.  It would be good to hear your comments and memories. 

« Last Edit: Oct 04, 2019, 07:56 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Excellent photos and information from Brian (particularly the information on the loss of the bow anchor).

In the first photo in the most recent post, showing her midsection on the slipway, one can see where the epoxy riveted join between the steel hull (up to One Deck) and the aluminium superstructure (Quarter Deck and above) is — where the holes are punched in the steel hull above the One Deck portholes.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Lynda Bradford

Excellent photos and information from Brian (particularly the information on the loss of the bow anchor).

In the first photo in the most recent post, showing her midsection on the slipway, one can see where the epoxy riveted join between the steel hull (up to One Deck) and the aluminium superstructure (Quarter Deck and above) is — where the holes are punched in the steel hull above the One Deck portholes.

Thanks Thomas.  There is so much detail in this photo, I have been studying it but I have ended up with more questions than answers. I cannot think of a high viewpoint where the  first photo could have been taken, it could have been taken from an airplane or helicopter.  If you look closely you can see red funnel(s) of a ship in the fitting out basin. 

There is a similar photo on the RIBA webpage that dates the image as taken in 1966.  Brian's photo was probably taken around the same time. 

The view down river is very clear, so I would think the photo was taken in the Spring or Summer months.

I have been trying to find out what the white structure that is visible on the right beyond the shipyard. There was a Portland Cement Factory in the area but not sure where.  Maybe one of our members, remembers this structure.

You can imagine the hive of industry with hundreds of men working on the ship on any workday - brilliant photo.

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

I have been amazed at the beauty of the photo of the bulbous bow. It looks like a piece of modern sculpture, with its angles and edges. Fascinating to think that this structure continues to be buried within the overall shape of QE2.

Online Lynda Bradford

Brian Price has sent a third instalment of his collection of QE2 build photos and what a fantastic opportunity we have to view these historic images.  Enjoy!

In this picture we can clearly distinguish between the steel hull and aluminium superstructure.
Fastening steel to aluminium was  a new technology, call Huck Bolting, which had been tried in Dutch shipyards, and QE2  was the first use of the technique in British shipbuilding.
The two surfaces have to be perfectly clean and then dressed with an epoxy resin before joining and fixing with huck bolts (rivets) and then the area joined is heated to complete the bond.
Notice that the slipway is lined up with a cut in the bank of the far side of the River Clyde, allowing for a little extra ‘wiggle room’ on the launch.
Aluminium was used for the superstructure in order to save weight which could then be translated into extra space inside the ship for passengers and crew....and of course cargo. QE2 was unique in transatlantic liners in that she had the capability of drive-on, drive off cars and vehicles. (During the stevedores strike in NYC I drove 6 brand new Daytona Ferraris off the ship during one call.)

Above is one of the two bow thruster propellers. These were installed in two tubes which cross from one side of the ship to the other at the bow where it is narrowest.
These were used when manoeuvring the ship in harbour, and at times negated the use of tug boats and therefore saved money. The propellers were 6.55 feet (2 meters) in diameter and were driven by 1000 hp electric motors. When the ship was underway, circular doors would then be closed to protect the doors while the ship was at sea.
They were controlled by a joystick on the bridge with repeater controls on the wing of the bridge. Two bow thrusters was quite modest for a ship of this size.

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline pete cain

I lovem, lovem, lovem the sepia effect is superb, the historical value - well .....
 however I think SS Oriana was well ahed of QE2 with Aluminiun superstructure build, answers please on a postcard

Online Lynda Bradford

I was delighted to receive the latest instalment of QE2 build slides from Brian Price today.  The slides show QE2 at John Brown's shipyard in Clydebank during the building of the ship - it is particularly poignant to see these images on the day when we remember QE2 leaving Southampton for the last time, as she sailed towards her new future in Dubai.

Brian has provided some text to accompany the photos giving us a little insight into each image. 

The Denny Brown stabilizers

"For a ship carrying passengers, it is imperative that it is equipped with an effective method of stabilizing the rocking motion caused by waves approaching the ship on the beam. It should also be mentioned that the crew and officers are not immune to The Motion of the Ocean and they also benefit from a stabilized ship.
Although there are various ways of ensuring a calmer sea passage, the most effective style of stabilizer for a ship the size of QE2 is the retractable fin stabilizer. QE was fitted with two pairs of stabilizers but it should be emphasized that they operated independently of each other and they are gyroscopically controlled. When the ship’s gyroscope detects a  difference on the horizontal level of the ship it sends a message to individual stabilizers which will in turn rotate slightly to counteract the motion, upwards on one side and downwards on the other. This reduces the effect of the sea by up to 80%, and if they were to be retracted during a heavy sea, would cause a lot of damage and possible injury within the ship.
During a heavy sea they will also help to maximize fuel efficiency, but if left out during a calm sea would have the opposite effect.
Each fin is 6 meters long and 1.5 meters wide. When not in use they hinge into the hull of the ship and protected by a door. They are retracted during calm weather and when the ship is entering and leaving port. In some ports around the world, notably Capetown and Lisbon, with stabilizers retracted (and the ship moving too slow for them to be effective anyway) QE2 occasionally adopted a fairly extreme rolling motion when entering the harbour.
There is no truth in the rumour that the ship’s doctor would bribe the Captain to retract the stabilizers for a short period during rough weather so that he could increase his revenue for seasickness jabs. These days, a pill is just as effective for most people."

View of QE2 from the South bank of the River Clyde

"Building at this stage is up to the outer bulkheads of Boat Deck"

And below.... a view across the John Brown workshop roof:

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Lynda Bradford

Brian has sent these fabulous picture of the QE2's propeller shafts and propeller

QE2 had only 2 propellers, each with 6 fixed position blades (the original Queens had 4 propellers). This is the port side propeller in the process of being attached to the end of the propeller shaft. The propellers were cast in bronze  and measured 5.8 metres in diameter and weighed 31.75 tons each. And the other important fact: Cost of 2 propellers = £1 million.

A section of the propeller Hull shaft taken prior to installation in the ship.
It was designed to be in sections for ease of removal and replacement as and when required.
The total length of the propeller Hull shaft casing was 76.2 metres and each section measured 10.7 metres in length. The diameter measured 61 centimetres.

Thanks once again to Brian Price for making these images with information available to the forum. 

Look out for more photos: the most interesting pics are still to come with the construction of the steam turbines and gearboxes. 

« Last Edit: Jan 03, 2020, 06:49 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline June Ingram

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Wonderful photos and great commentary !  Many thanks !   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Clydebuilt1971

These are just amazing!

In conjunction with the slides that Rob presented at Fairfields in May we have a very concise story of the ship from construction to trials and beyond!!

Cant wait until the next instalment.


Online Lynda Bradford

Thanks to Brian Price we start the New Year with fabulous pictures with information on the QE2's Turbines and Boilers in John Brown's Engineering, workshop in Clydebank.

"The original engines of QE2 comprised two high pressure turbines built by Parmetrada (Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company) and two low pressure turbines, a double reduction gearbox and a Michell thrust bearing.
Steam to drive the turbines was produced by 3 Foster Wheeler boilers.
In this overview of the engineering workshop at John Browns it’s hard to spot anyone doing any work except the two engineers in the foreground. They are standing in the bottom half of the low pressure turbine. Behind them is the lower half of the other low pressure turbine. Down the centre of the turbine base is the turbine shaft, onto which the turbine blades will be attached.
Just behind the bases are the two curved turbine covers for the low pressure turbines.
In the background are the three Foster Wheeler boilers which made the steam to drive the turbines."

"The Foster Wheeler boilers under construction.
Water, inserted at the base of the boiler, is heated to make steam and then super heated to pressurize it so that it can be used to drive the turbines.
The engineer on the left is standing on a bank of suoerheater elements. On rare occasions during service, the metal used in these superheater elements would deteriorate to the extend that steam would escape and the boiler would lose pressure, the ship would speed, and the element would have to be replaced / repaired."

"The boilers produced 231,000lbs of steam per hour at service speed and 310,000lbs at maximum speed just short of 34 knots.

The steam was heated to 510 degree C (950 degrees F) and pressurized to 850 lbs psi."

Follow links to read more about QE2's Boilers and Steam Turbines or join the discussion on the Foster Wheeler Boilers

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online skilly56

Regarding Reply#13, the lower photo actually shows the stern tube bearing liner being fed into the hull shaft casing, not the 'propeller shaft' as stated.

If one looks at the stud ring on the aft end of the stern tube in the lower photo, it matches the stern tube stud ring shown in the upper photo. Additionally, what is called the 'propeller shaft' in the lower photo has a flange on it's aft end, so it could not be fed into the ship through the stern tube - it is the stern tube liner!
Propeller shafting is designed to transmit huge torque, so it definitely wouldn't be bored out to the extent shown in the photo. (Some models of CPP shafting are bored out centrally for a push/pull rod, but definitely not to this extent).
All the inner sections of shafting in the shaft tunnels have flanges on each end for alignment and the fitted coupling bolts, the holes for which have to be drilled in the workshop. The flange shown has no coupling bolt holes. The inner sections of shafting are always installed from the engine room side because of the flanges, and in the days before hydraulic muff couplings, even the tailshaft was installed from the inboard side because of the large driving flange.

If it was the aftermost section of propeller shafting, where is the spigot for the propeller to mount on?

Once QE2 had CP props & shafting installed at the re-engining layup, the prop shafts did have a large flange on the aft end to mount the CPP hub on, and the connection inside was via hydraulic SKF muff couplings (photo attached). I have also attached photos of the propeller shaft flanges & coupling bolts for the CPP installation, but these would have been similar in size to the fixed pitch propeller shafting.


« Last Edit: Jan 03, 2020, 06:46 PM by Lynda Bradford »

Online Lynda Bradford

Brilliant to have such technical expertise to add to the photos, thanks Skilly.  I will certainly feedback to Brian your explanation. 

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline pete cain

This just gets better & better, what a lovely post Christmas/ New Year pick me up, thanks to Brian & also to
 Skilly for the  - as usual in depth info'.
   Does make you wonder what else is out there waiting to be discovered don't you think ?.


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