12 December 2011

High Hopes in Hard Times

On this day in 1931:

Queen Mary under construction (photo: Stewart Bale)


Government Cannot Assist.


(British Official Wireless.)

LONDON, December. 12. The decision to suspend construction work on the 73,000 tons Cunard liner, a stoppage which will affect thousands of workers in Clyde shipyards and many more indirectly in industries providing equipment, was the subject of a statement by the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Walter Runciman) at question time in the House of Commons, and of speeches by Clydeside members and others in the discussion on the adjournment.

Mr. Runciman, who was asked whether Government would do anything in the matter, replied that the idea of direct Government assistance was out of the question, but if the Cunard Company had any proposals to make the Government would give them the most serious consideration. The Government's hope was that circumstances would permit of the building of the ship to be resumed before long.

The chairman of the Cunard Company indicated the desire of the company to resume the building of the ship, with which they hoped to regain the Blue Riband of the Atlantic at the earliest moment possible.

Meantime, the ship will remain on the stocks and the work already done is not likely to suffer damage by a postponement of further operations.

Three thousand shipwrights and male and female clerical workers have left the shipyard. It is understood that 1200 will remain as a skeleton staff to shore up the hill in order to safeguard the structure. Sections of the drawing office and clerical staff will be retained. The Clydebank Council is organising to relieve distress among the unemployed.

(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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