Scale: 1:150. The entry into service of the liner ‘Iberia’ (1954) marked the completion of the post-war rebuilding of the P&O fleet. Designed for the company’s UK – Australia service, it was built by Harland & Wolff of Belfast and entered service in September 1954. Passenger accommodation consisted of 674 first-class and 733 tourist-class berths. The former were situated amidships with most cabins having private bath and toilet facilities. First-class public rooms included an observation lounge, library, ballroom, dining saloon, veranda and pool cafés and writing room. Tourist-class cabins were located towards the rear of the ship. Accommodation for the 709 officers and crew was of a high standard. As usual on P&O passenger ships, the crew complement included Goanese stewards and Asian firemen.

On 27 March 1956 ‘Iberia’ was involved in a collision with the Liberian tanker ‘Stanvac Pretoria’, off Colombo, and sustained severe damage to its port-side superstructure. It was repaired at Cockatoo shipyard in Sydney, Australia. In 1961 it was given a complete modernization refit by John I. Thornycroft, Southampton, at a cost of £500,000. Air-conditioning was extended to the entire ship, every cabin was upgraded and redecorated and a survey was made of its engines, boilers and propeller shafts. Following the refit ‘Iberia’ was used increasingly for cruising and was particularly popular with American holidaymakers.

Unfortunately, throughout its life, it was mechanically unreliable, and perhaps it was this reason why in April 1972 P&O announced its retirement. Only 18 years old, ‘Iberia’ had been the youngest of the post-war replacements but the first in the fleet to be withdrawn.

Object Details

ID: SLR0155
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Harland & Wolff Ltd
Vessels: Iberia (1954)
Date made: circa 1954
Credit: Lent by P&O Heritage Collection
Measurements: Overall model: 595 x 1720 x 355 mm

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