30 December 2014 – 50 years ago on 30 December 1964, the contract for what was to become Queen Elizabeth 2 was signed. Of the 248 ships that have flown the Cunard flag since Britannia in 1840, QE2, as she was to become universally known, is one of the most significant ships Cunard has built.
|Q4 under construction in August 1967 - a month before her launch.|
At the end of August 1964 Cunard was in a position to invite tenders for Q4 – the widely-used codename for the new ship. The use of ‘Q4’ hinted that the new Cunarder was to be the fourth Queen ship that the company had built and meant that Queen Mary was now ‘Q1’ and Queen Elizabeth was ‘Q2’. ‘Q3’ never left the drawing board and it was the plans for that ship which were re-worked into ‘Q4’.
Technically ‘Q4’ should have been ‘Q5’ as the first Cunard Queen was Berengaria when Imperator was renamed.
The firms invited to tender for Q4 were John Brown and Co., Clydebank; Cammell Laird and Co., Birkenhead; the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Glasgow; Harland and Wolf, Belfast; Swan, Hinter and Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne would combine with Vickers Armstrong, Wallsend.