The Wheelhouse

1. Port Telegraph Handle

This instrument would relay the orders from the bridge to the Engine Room, down in the bowels of the ship, to tell the Engineers exactly what the engines were required to do. eg. Slow Ahead Port would be repeated in the Engine Room, and the Engineer would set the Port engine to Slow speed ahead.

2. Standard Compass

This was a magnetic compass which the Quartermaster, who was handling the ships wheel, would steer by. He would steer so that the course of the ship was always showing at the top of the compass circle. The magnetic compass was used, which automatically looks for Magnetic North. The modern gyro compass had not yet been invented when the Wellington went to sea.

3. Ship’s Wheel

This is the Master Ships Wheel, which would be controlled by the Quarter Master. The Wheel was connected by an electrical system to the rudder under the water at the back (stern) of the ship. If the order from the bridge was Port 15, the Quarter Master would move the wheel to Port until the indicator showed 15 degrees to Port, and the rudder would then move to an angle of 15 degrees on the Port side of the ship.

4. Starboard Kelvins Ball

There are two Kelvin’s Balls, one either side of the magnetic compass. Because the ship was made of steel, this would interfere with the magnetic compass and cause the compass to give false readings. The Kelvin’s Balls were therefore positioned to cancel the ships own magnetism.

5. Wheel Indicator

This scale would show the Quarter Master how far he had turned the wheel. (See Item 3 – Ships Wheel).

6. Starboard Telegraph Indicator

This instrument is the twin of the Port Telegraph, but controls the right hand side of the ship, whilst the Port Telegraph relays information regarding the left-hand side engines.

Site by OBLONG