Something Old: Save the QE2


Following on from my post earlier, exciting news coming from Dubai.   The QE2 seems to no longer be at risk as she has just finished a  dry dock overhaul in Dubai.  This was done in order to make her viable to sail.  This is comforting news as there is no way that the money would have been spent on her if she was going to be scrapped any time soon. This good news is further bolstered by reports that she has in fact been leased by an Asian company, and instead of heading to the breakers, she is now planned to be moored in an, as of yet unidentified Asian harbour as a floating luxury hotel.  I am both happy and sad by this.  I am of course happy that she will be preserved now, and people will still be able to enjoy her, and she will fulfil her role of extending hospitality that she has done so capably for the last forty years.  But I am sad as I believe her rightful place is back in London.  I also have a degree of worry that while being converted to suit the market, her unique style will be lost, and this is why I still feel London would be a better option.  The QE2 London bid has been dealt a blow by this news, but I still don’t feel it is dead in the water, and as long as she is afloat there is a chance she can come home.


By now you know me, and you know I love history, culture and luxury travel.  I would like to draw your attention to something important.  We are at risk of losing an important piece of our cultural history and it needs to be saved.  I am talking about RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2 as she is affectionately known.  The QE2 was launched on Clydebank by Queen Elizabeth in 1969 and is the last ocean liner that was built in Britain still surviving.


There once was a time when the only way to get between Europe and America was by Ocean Liner and between the early 1900′s and late 60′s thousands of liners completed this route.  Many of the best of these ships were built in Britain, mainly on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow, which had a booming ship building industry which is now gone.  The QE2 was the last liner to be built until the QM2 which was built in France in 2004. It operated for the Cunard line from 1969 until her retirement in 2008.

This ship was more then just a hulk of metal, but was in fact a cultural ambassador for Britain around the world.  Everywhere she sailed  thousands of people gathered to see her in every port.  She is also an important relic of the old shipbuilding ways, as well as the once cutting edge design of the 1960′s, many of the ships current interiors are original, and it would be a shame if these were lost.  The QE2 is also a veteran of war, and served during the Falklands conflict, being used as a troop ship, as had her older sisters, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth during WWII.

So what is the danger?  Well in 2008 the QE2 was sold by the Cunard line to the city state of Dubai to become a floating hotel and museum, it seemed, at the time that she was safe.  However since 2008 this grand old lady has been languishing in the port of Dubai, all plans have been stalled due to the economic crisis and now, Dubai want to get rid of her.  Willing to accept the highest price, the QE2 is now at risk of the ship breakers.  This would be a very sad end to such a beautiful ship, and in my opinion a crime.


There is, however a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  A proposal to take QE2 home and moor her permanently in London is there and is viable,  but owing to time scales and delays over planning, we are at risk of losing the ship to the breakers.  So the campaign has begun, to get the British Government to intervene and get this cultural icon back where she belongs.  I don’t believe we should allow our history and culture to be dismantled on a foreign shore.  The future generations should be able to see QE2 and experience the golden age of British engineering and travel.

if you would like to read more about QE2 there are many books available,  one i have just purchased is “QE2: A Photographic Journal” by Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross.

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