No 736 viewed from Inchinnan a few days before the launch the photo also gives a good perspective of some of the John Brown cranes. With a couple of exceptions the cranes seen in this view were all products of Sir William Arrol & Company's Parkhead Crane Works. The exceptions are the large grey sheer legs (left of centre) and the small quayside travelling crane. The sheer legs was built by Carlisle-based cranemakers Cowans Sheldon in 1905 and was one of the first major investments by Sheffield steelmakers John Brown & Co following its taking ownership from the Clydebank Engineering & Shipbuilding Company, which had aquired the yard from its original owners, J & G Thomson, a few years earlier. The Cowans Sheldon shear legs provided a heavy lift facility on the east side of Brown's fitting out basin where most of the big ocean liners were completed. Heavy lift facilities on the west side of the basin were provided by the now famous Arrol Titan (built in 1907), which is just out of view to the left of the picture. That berth was used to fit out warships and smaller liners, etc. The other 8 cranes, in front of and behind Yard No 736, are Arrol hammerheads - note that the cantilevered beams on adjacent cranes are 'opposites' i.e. in one crane the beam is trussed from above while on the next crane it is trussed from below. This arrangement was adopted as the locus of the beams of adjacent cranes overlapped and the arrangement of the trussing allowed the crane beams to pass while the lift height of all cranes was similar - a clever trick by the world renowned structural engineers at Arrols. Of course the beams could only pass if the upper crane was not loaded with a lift and for that reason the cranes were fitted with proximity alarms to alert the drivers when the beams were getting close. Note: although the crane on the extreme left appears to have a different type of vertical tower at first sight, the actual tower is mainly obscured by one of the legs of the jack up oil drilling rig Gulftide. These Arrol cranes were relatively new at this time - when QE2's illustrious predecessors, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were built on the same ways thirty years earlier the building berth was lined on either side by much more primitive derrick cranes. The shear legs crane was demolished in the 1970s and most of the Arrol cranes had gone by the early 90s as the products of the yard by then was large offshore structures. The only Brown's crane still standing is the Arrol Titan - it is probably the oldest surviving crane on the Clyde.
Picture by the late Mr William Davies
QE2Queen Elizabeth 2CunardJohn BrownClydebankClydelaunchGreenockClyde built
From RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 - the Last Great Clydebuilt liner