THE grand old ships of the Clyde are a reminder of Glasgow’s great industrial past.

Our stories and pictures always spark fond memories for Times Past readers.

Bob Dickson, originally from Drumchapel, got in touch to tell us about watching the QE2 being built in Clydebank.

“Each day after school, my friends and I sat on the foundations of the Linkwood flats, watching the ship being built,” he recalls.

“We did it until the council made us move - but it was one of the best times. I must have been about seven years old.”

He adds: “Many years later I watched the same building – the Linkwood flats - being taken down – that was a sad day.”

The Queen launched the 58,000-ton Cunard cruise liner named in her honour, in September 1967. Tens of thousands of people crowded the river’s banks as she appeared with Prince Philip and Princess Margaret by her side.

The Evening Times reported “a tremendous roar went up” from the 30,000-strong crowd when the Queen revealed the name.

She said: “I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God bless her and all who sail in her.”

Glasgow Times:

Our newspaper also reported that Her Majesty left the Clydebank yard with an unusual gift - her very own speedboat.

In her thank-you speech to Lord Aberconway, chairman of John Brown shipping company, she acknowledged: “It may be a rather large jump from a 58,000 passenger liner to a speedboat, but I want to thank John Brown’s and Cunard for their very acceptable and useful present.

“I think we might appropriately call it John Brown and paint it in Cunard colours.”

After almost 70 years of building, the QE2 was the last of the great liners to be launched from Scotland’s industrial heartland. John Brown’s was merged into United Clyde Shipbuilding in February 1968 while the QE2 was still being completed.

In her speech at the launch, the Queen paid tribute to the yard.

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“We have all read with a touch of nostalgia that the name of John Brown is to disappear...However this does not mean that the very special skill and spirit of this yard will be lost...”

Seventeen years earlier, it was very different.

This majestic ship, pictured here in December 1950, made Clydeside history when it became the largest to be launched on the river that year.

It was the Ruahine, an 18,500-ton passenger motor-liner, also built at John Brown’s in Clydebank for the New Zealand Shipping Company.

It was launched by 81-year-old Mrs J M Dawes, who was repeating an honour she had carried out 41 years earlier, when the previous Ruahine had launched. To the new ship she presented a piece of ribbon bearing the name Ruahine, which had been given to her in 1909. She in turn was given a diamond brooch on behalf of John Brown’s.

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Lord Aberconway said the new Ruahine was the 22nd vessel the company had built for New Zealand Shipping, 10 of which were still running.

Early the following year, he added, the yard would lay down the keel for the 23rd. The Ruahine could carry refrigerated and general cargo as well as 250 ‘one-class’ passengers, for whom the on-board facilities extended to a swimming pool.