In 2004, when I first visited Alang, I had all of 20 minutes to inspect the newly-beached, 1955-built SALONA, the former Cunard liner IVERNIA. When I saw that most of the shipʼs wheelhouse was still intact (minus a few bits of easily pilfered brass), I hurriedly decided to purchase the entire ensemble, minus the magnetic compass, radar and a few latter day gauges. It was my hope to have the bridge rebuilt in a museum or to at least have parts of it displayed in the heritage trail of one of the new Carnival-owned Cunarders but that sadly never came to pass.
Of course, IVERNIA went on to become the FRANCONIA in 1963 and then spent the greater part of the 1970s through the early 1990s as the Soviet emigrant and cruise ship FEDOR SHALYAPIN. The beauty of the former IVERNIAʼs final active career was that her owners neither had the funds nor the desire to modernize her and aside from some auxiliary equipment, the wheelhouse remained entirely original.
I have included a photo of the stand with the wheel from the nearly identical SAXONIA. Although the wheel is not available, it is a standard fixture made by Brown Brothers of Edinburgh, Scotland. A similar or identical wheel would not be impossible to find as they were used aboard numerous vessels during that golden era.
This steering stand is one of the last available links to Cunardʼs classic transatlantic past and is very similar to the twin helms on the bridge of the original QUEEN MARY. Thanks to its solid brass construction, it is also stupendously heavy!
The wheelhouse, facing starboard, shown in a photo taken aboard the FEDOR SHALYAPIN at Iliychevsk, Ukraine, in 1997.
Measurements: 43 Inches Tall by 19 Inches Wide and -- Inches Deep