Queen Mary - the grandest ocean liner ever built|
Queen Mary be coming home?
Inside Out look at an ambitious plan to bring
one of our most famous ships back to its home port.
In October 1967, Southampton
waved goodbye to the liner the Queen Mary as she made her final voyage after 35
long years at sea.
She was heading to Long Beach, California to spend her
retirement as a floating hotel, conference centre and tourist attraction.
after 39 years in Long Beach, this grand old lady of the sea is now facing an
The US company that leases and operates her owes millions
of dollars in rent to Long Beach City Council and has gone into bankruptcy.
Queen Mary's fate will be decided in the next couple of months by an American
Bringing the ship back home?
Back in Hampshire, a businessman
is already making plans to buy the Queen Mary if she is put up for sale.
|QUEEN OF THE SEAS|
- Cunard Line plans new super liners to replace the Mauretania, Aquitania and
Berengaria on its North Atlantic route.
December, 1930 - Work on Job 534
(later known as Queen Mary) starts at John Brown Shipyard on the Clyde.
1931 - Work begins on new Southampton dry dock.
December, 1931 - Work halted
on Queen Mary due to the Depression. Already the ship stands nine stories high.
July, 1933 - The King George V Graving Dock is opened - the largest in
April, 1934 - Construction resumes on Queen Mary.
1934 - The Queen Mary is launched and named by Her Majesty Queen Mary.
1936 - Dry docked at Southampton's King George V Graving Dock.
- maiden voyage. Becomes hostess to the world's rich and famous - Greta Garbo,
Clark Gable, David Niven, Mary Pickford.
World War II - transformed into
September, 1967 - Retires from regular passenger service.
1967 - Arrives Long Beach, USA.
Roger Hardingham was
born and bred on the Hamble and has always loved the Queen Mary.
the programme about his first trip aboard:
"I put my foot
forward off the gang plank and onto the Queen Mary and that was just an incredible
moment for me. I mean it was tear-jerking to be quite honest."
thinks the Queen Mary would be a major tourist attraction if he could tow the
ship back to Southampton.
"What I'm trying to do is get
the will of the people, the will of Southampton and the will of the port authority
to want to do this and all the other thousands of people in the local area and
the whole of the UK who want to see her back."
plan is fraught with difficulties as the Queen Mary hasn't moved for nearly 30
Her engines have been stripped so she would have to be towed on
a hazardous journey around Cape Horn.
Mike Gray from Lloyd's List says
the ship would not survive the trip:
"I think it's a lovely idea but
I don't think it's got a cat in hell's chance of coming off.
it be better to spend a few million and make a facility where people can actually
have shipping explained to them? That would make sense rather than lugging back
an old wreck from the furthest ends of the earth with tremendous risk of it sinking."
if she did make the long journey back to Southampton, the question still remains
as to where she could go.
At the moment, Roger doesn't have a berth as
neither Southampton City Council nor Associated British Ports is backing his scheme.
Keith Hamilton has lived in Southampton
all of his life. He worked on the Queen Mary as a young boy and remembers what
it was like when she was in dock:
"When she was in port
it was almost as if there was a ship berthed in the High Street, it was just huge.
"I remember as a small boy walking along the Quayside, it was
this vast wall and there was this incredible activity and the buzz of excitement
with luggage coming off and cars being craned on."
still remains confident that his dream can be realised and that he can raise the
money needed to bring the Queen Mary home.
"It does sound completely
mad, but I'm a determined person. I would probably sell everything I've got if
it meant bringing the Queen Mary back to Southampton," he says.
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