Of all the tickets Eric Schofield has preserved and displayed in this series, those he collected in September 1967 are souvenirs of an especially momentous occasion — the launch of the last great liner to be built on Clydeside.
No. 11 Souvenir Tickets
The tickets depicted here are rare, for the simple reason that they were designed to be retained by the customer as a souvenir of a special event. They were given to those who went on the one-off pre-launch or launch day cruises up-river to view the new Cunard liner, known initially as ‘Q4’, at John Brown’s Clydebank shipyard in September 1967.
On the day of the launch the name was finally unveiled as Queen Elizabeth 2, though the liner became more commonly referred to thereafter as QE2.
I was able to do the pre-launch cruise on the Sunday, and although I was unable to get a day off work for the launch the following Wednesday, I managed to obtain a launch cruise ticket as a keep-sake.
On my way to Largs on the Sunday I made time to visit Fairlie and picture Maid of Argyll on her 1205 call on the way to Millport Old Pier — her regular summer roster being maintained to the end of the summer timetable, unlike Duchess of Hamilton’s Sunday Campbeltown cruise which ceased at the end of August.
Once the ‘Argyll’ had left for Millport, Glen Sannox returned to the pier to continue her rest day: like the ‘Duchess’, her Sunday runs to Brodick stopped at the end of August.
When I arrived at Largs, Keppel was at the Millport ferry berth, the crew no doubt partaking of their lunch break prior to her next sailing to Millport at 1310.
Even though this was one of only two special excursions to Clydebank by Duchess of Hamilton, proper care had been taken with the fan-boards, as can be seen in the accompanying picture (below).
When we reached Clydebank, there was ample time to take photos of the liner on the stocks, before we sailed back down-firth to Largs.
I was reminded of that occasion in September 2007 when QE2 returned to the Clyde as part of a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of her launch. When she left the Clyde in the early evening of Thursday 20th, Balmoral (from which the picture was taken) and Saturn both offered excursionists an opportunity to accompany the liner as she left the Upper Firth before the light faded.
Some five years later, on 2 August 2012, the new Queen Elizabeth visited the Clyde, and it was Waverley’s turn to offer passengers a close-up view as the liner sailed away in the late afternoon. Having just come off one of the Western Ferries at McInroy’s Point as the liner was departing, I took a shot of the paddler sailing alongside the giant Cunarder. It was almost better than being on board!
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ALL TICKETS PLEASE — the series so far:
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Published on 19 January 2019