1000 Days-1911

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(Introduction) | (1910) | (1911) | (1912) | (1913) | (1914) | (1915) | (1916) | (Epilogue) | (The Ship) | (Battle Cruiser) | (Design) | (Protection) | (Ordnance) | (Machinery) | (Miscellaneous) | (Sources) | (Artwork) | (Photos - Build) | (Photos - Pre-War) | (Photos - On board) | (Photos - WW1) | (Photos - Beatty’s Battlecruisers) | (Photos - Miscellaneous)


By January the design and layout of the structure that would one day become Queen Mary had been well advanced on the various Admiralty plans and sections, drafted out from ones firmly based upon the preceding Lion class then under construction. One set of these Admiralty Contractor’s Department plans numbered 22660J has been initialled by the renowned naval architect P. Watts, along with the signature of Palmers shipyard manager deciphered as possibly A.W. Tweeddell. Both appear on the yards official stamps bearing the advanced date of the 25 September 1913 for her completed drafts, with as far as is known, no other original blueprints surviving of her early plans or overall configuration. This is quite surprising since by this stage in the conception of such a mighty undertaking; this would have entailed around ten thousand individual drawings, sections and sketches of one kind or another, to have been drafted up to embrace every aspect of her basic structure and fittings.

The first public announcement of this major order was noted in an interview by the local Tyneside newspaper, the Chronicle on the 11 January, with a representative of Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, confirming that they had received a contract for an ‘Armoured vessel’ to be built for the British Admiralty. In this early report the order was also described at that time to be of the ‘Dreadnought cruiser type’, and according to the paper, although provided for in the last 1910 Naval Estimates, the actual placing of the order had been delayed for some time due to undisclosed reasons. What this newspapers basis was for mentioning a delay in the placing of the order for Queen Mary has not been discovered, certainly this procedure certainly appeared to be a relatively smooth one with no complications.

Officially, one battlecruiser was provided for in the 1910-1911 naval estimates as part of the 1910-1911 Programme. On Thursday, 13 January 1911, it was formally announced that the new ship would be constructed by Palmers at their Jarrow yard, with the turbine machinery built by John Brown and Company.

Needless to say the news of such an important contract would have given the greatest satisfaction to the residents of Jarrow, with the signing of this valuable order securing employment at the yard for a number of years ahead. It was also briefly reported at this time that there was already a good amount of work in hand involving this proposal and that preparations for an immediate start on it at the Hebburn yard were already well underway. This information clearly indicates that although the official news of the ship was announced that January, details of its award to Palmers must have been already known about by the company late in 1910, for it to commence preparations for construction, in the form of ordering material, and perhaps even taking on additional men to prepare their large western slipway, dominated by its towering gantry for their great endeavour.

Thus with the plans approved and initial preparations made, all was now set for the first physical stage in this undertaking, the laying of the keel for Queen Mary on the 6 March. The same day that it was publically announced in The Times that the name of the ship would be Queen Mary, with the name formally confirmed by the builders on 20 March.

With the reign of King George V commencing on the 6 May 1910 (coronation 22 June 1911), the name-ship of the latest four-strong super-dreadnought class carried the new monarch’s name, so it was fitting that his consort bestowed hers to the single battle-cruiser in that year’s program.

In this it was usual for an accompanying ceremony to take place, and in this it can be assumed that the Chairman of the Board, Lord Furness would have been present, along with other firm and local dignitaries, as well as perhaps an Admiralty representative, all to witness this important event for the Tyneside community.

Outside the yard itself, many specialists concerns in the immediate Tyneside area and indeed further afield throughout Britain, would now have been doing their part in this great undertaking. The building of this ship would have involved various contractors and suppliers from all over the country, manufacturing everything from crockery, sundry mess gear, hammocks, toilet fittings, boilers, armour plate and mighty ordnance. Shipping their final wares by various routes and means to Palmers for eventual inclusion within the growing leviathan, or temporary storage nearby.

Admiralty weekly orders No.351, issued on the 24 November 1911. All cruisers of the Invincible and later type are, for the future, to be described and classified as battle-cruisers in order to distinguish them from armoured-cruisers of the older type. (ADM182/2)

(Introduction) | (1910) | (1911) | (1912) | (1913) | (1914) | (1915) | (1916) | (Epilogue) | (The Ship) | (Battle Cruiser) | (Design) | (Protection) | (Ordnance) | (Machinery) | (Miscellaneous) | (Sources) | (Artwork) | (Photos - Build) | (Photos - Pre-War) | (Photos - On board) | (Photos - WW1) | (Photos - Beatty’s Battlecruisers) | (Photos - Miscellaneous)