IT was known at the John Brown's yard in Clydebank as Q4 when it was being built, and it was only on the day of its launch in September, 1967, that it was officially confirmed that it would be known as the Queen Elizabeth II, shortened of course since then to QE2. The Queen herself launched the magnificent cruise-ship and even brought along her younger sister, Margaret, seen here on the tour of the yard, behind Elizabeth.

It was a huge occasion, with all the local schools closed for the day so that the children could see the event. The Queen climbed the platform for the launch where yard boss John Rannie stepped forward and asked: "Will you do us the honour of naming and launching this ship?" To huge cheers, The Queen declared: "I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second, and may God bless her and all who sale in her" before pressing the button that released the Champagne bottle that smashed against her. Then nothing. A big ship like that doesn't just rush down the ramp, and it was a few minutes before it very slowly began its descent.

One yard boss was seen waving his bowler hat at the ship, urging it to go down the slipway, and shipyard workers on board could be heard singing "We shall not be moved". Naturally they were rounded up, taken to the Tower of London, and never seen again for their cheek. The ship, apart from world cruises, would regularly sale across the Atlantic from Britain to New York. If the weather was chilly when you were on a lounger on deck, a crew member would roll out a warm blanket over you and tuck you in as you lay there before bringing you strawberries and Champagne. Bliss.

Cunard retired the ship from active service in 2008 and it has since been moored in Dubai while plans for its future are still under debate.

NATURALLY there was a great deal of interest in the QE2 before its launch in Clydebank with many features in newspapers written about its construction. This is a picture of four of the cleaners at the yard ensuring that the ship is spick and span before the Queen arrived. A good study of the picture shows that one of the women is smoking a fag while cleaning so that she is actually spilling fag ash while clearing it up at the same time. It seems a brilliant means of work creation.

IT seems there was a certain look for car drivers in the early seventies - car coats and soft hats. These gentlemen are forming an orderly early-morning queue outside the Automobile Association offices which used to be in Argyle Street beside Central Station in Glasgow. The reason for their appearance was the sudden financial collapse in 1971 of insurance company Vehicle and General which left thousands of drivers uninsured. You couldn't just click on the internet and arrange cover which is why drivers headed to the AA to fix up alternative policies as quickly as possible.