Peter Knego at Alang with SS RITA (ex WINDSOR CASTLE) in late September of 2005. Photo by Kaushal Trivedi.
Cruise News: Peter Kengo’s MIDSHIP CENTURY has received a new shipment of cruise ship furnishings after his recent visit to India. His collection covers everything from furniture, to ship’s fittings and art work from the cruise ships of yesterday.
Union Castle’s RMS WINDSOR CASTLE in its prime on the UK to South Africa run.
Midship Century was founded in 2005 by ocean liner historian and journalist Peter Knego as a logical outlet for the container loads of materials he salvaged from a long procession of celebrated vessels scrapped on the beach of Alang, India in recent years. Many, such as Sun Line’s STELLA SOLARIS, were fitted out with important designer furniture and valuable artwork, while others, such as the former Cunard Liner IVERNIA, were unchanged relics filled with mid-1950s and early 1960s fixtures and furnishings.
Rare, Original Emanuele Luzzati Double Sided Screen From MV STELLA OCEANIS.
Their replacements, today’s mega cruise ships, offer a myriad of amenities to make the passenger forget he or she is even at sea. But unlike ocean liners, these boxy monoliths are fitted out like modern hotels with store-bought furnishings and fire resistant materials. The era of the individual ship representing the best of its nation’s artisans and craftsmen ended in the mid 1960s (although there were a handful of exceptions like the STELLA SOLARIS in the early 1970s).
Seizing the one-time-only opportunity to save these items from obscurity or destruction, Knego not only bought items for his collection, but to share with those with a similar love for ocean liners or a penchant for the sleek stylings of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. Rich, rare, tropical hardwood veneers, heavy nickel plated fixtures, a serving of “high style Italian chic” from Gio Ponti’s collaborators, and much more! Now that no less than four containers’ full have been sorted and documented, it is time to make these treasures available to the world.
Born in Los Angeles, CA in 1960, Peter’s interest in passenger ships started in 1973 when he was assigned to research the LUSITANIA for an American History course. In early 1974, he began visiting and photographing nearly every liner and cruise ship that came to Los Angeles, beginning with P&O’s SS ARCADIA, and continues to do so to this day.
While he was at UCLA, Peter took his first “serious” cruises, beginning in 1980 with American Hawaii’s newly-rechristened SS OCEANIC INDEPENDENCE. Every year thereafter, he made it a point to sail in an elderly passenger ship until the early 1990s, when he furthered his mission to seek out and document every “forgotten” liner left in the world.
In 1992, Peter traveled to Greece to visit the forlorn and soon to be lost former SS AMERICA. Further travels included a 14 night voyage aboard ACHILLE LAURO just a few weeks before she was destroyed by fire; trips to the Ukraine to document the former Cunard twins LEONID SOBINOV and FEDOR SHALYAPIN; an extended “tour” of the Far East to cover aging liners in Japan and China; a visit to the US Reserve Fleet in VA to document the nuclear ship SAVANNAH; a special expedition to the Philippines to see the former Italian liner MV AUGUSTUS; and back to China for the former ANCERVILLE and ORIANA.