Designer and project manager on the construction of the Queen Mary 2, Stephen Payne OBE, will give the 2008 John Sargent Lecture at the Institution on 12 February.
Payne will describe how his childhood interest in ships led him to design and build Queen Mary 2, the largest transatlantic liner ever built. Payne's inspiration apparently came from the 1960s, when as a boy he developed an interest in ocean liners through watching Blue Peter on television.
When the Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched in 1969, it was commonly believed that she would be the last of the great and grand ocean liners.
The original Queen Elizabeth liner had been decommissioned in 1968, and the Queen Mary liner had been retired and moored permanently in Long Beach California in 1967. The 1970s saw a general winding down of cruise activity.
However, in the 1980s there was a huge resurgence in the popularity of cruising, and by the 1990s the QE2 had become an icon of luxury travel and was the last liner plying a very profitable transatlantic trade. It was time to consider the possibility of building the biggest and most expensive liner to date, the Queen Mary 2.
Payne was a recipient of the 2006 Royal Academy of Engineering Special Achievement Award in recognition of his achievements in designing and project managing the super liner's construction. Payne introduced several innovations to the structure and steering, including doing away with the rudder.
Prior to his role on Queen Mary 2 – the first true liner, rather than a cruise ship, to be built since the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969 – Payne was involved with the design and construction of over 30 cruise ships for Carnival Corporation.