Find of the Month – May

Royal Navy Warship Compass Binnacle by Kelvin Hughes -Boxfresh

Ships binnacles of this size and style are not that uncommon, in fact we have dealt with at least 150 similar to this over the 25 years of salvaging at the ship-breaking yards around the World, what makes this one exceptional is not only the fact that it is Royal Navy quality but that is Box-Fresh and in absolutely perfect condition.

We discovered it, contained in a large innocuous wooden crate, hidden in a dark corner of an underground MoD bunker earlier this year. A wipe of grime from off of the crate label revealed a simple clue as to its contents but my presumption was that it was going to be either an unpleasant obscure style of compass housing or the fibreglass version that we find on ships of the 70’s and 80’s. Things got exciting though after spinning the box around to find a ‘Date of Issue: 1955’ tag, as I knew it could be a Kelvin Hughes, the ‘Rolls Royce’ of binnacles.

A pallet truck and a crowbar later, we popped the lid to discover what we were expecting to see, an absolute time capsule of a binnacle, a never issued Naval Spare. The brass helmet and fittings had of course dulled and the iron ‘Kelvins spheres’ had small patches of surface rust on them, non of which was a surprise having spent over 65 years in underground stores.

Skilfully I managed to hide my excitement prior to the deal being done and home it came.

Over the last month it has been through full refurbishment with its teak trunk base lightly sanded and re-oiled, brassware & compass professionally polished. As a finishing touch we have wired the small lamp inside, underneath the compass which brings it alive at a switch.

A Ships Binnacle is the housing for the main navigation compass on a boat or ship located on the bridge. They come in many shapes and sizes but on big ships built between 1900 and 1960 this is the traditional style.

See more photos and price here