A RETIRED shipbuilder is so obsessed with shipping he has turned his entire house into a personal shrine to Southampton docks.
Perc Wiltshire has spent more than 20 years collecting more than 1,300 items of memorabilia.
The former ship’s plumber says his collection reminds him of his career travelling the world on ocean liners including the QE2, the SS Canberra and Oriana.
The grandfather-of-four’s collection of about ten jigsaws, 800 postcards, 18 plates, 200 books, 60 models, 90 pictures and five scrapbooks full of hundreds of Daily Echo shipping photographs and articles fills the majority of his four-bed Southampton home.
His favourite item is a picture of the Queen Mary 2, the QE2, the United States Intrepid and Concorde docked at New York, which takes pride of place in his living room.
Perc’s fondest memory is working on the QE2 for ten months, fitting the pipework into cabins as it travelled between Southampton and New York.
On leaving school in 1949, aged 14, he gained an apprenticeship with Thornycroft in Woolston. After his National Service he joined P&O, working on the Strathaird ship transporting Brits emigrating to Australia during the 1950s, but after three years he returned to Thornycroft where he worked until his retirement in 1996.
Perc, 79, said: “I just collect ships I like and there’s no better ship than the QE2.
“It’s just a hobby. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, but this keeps me busy. It’s because I worked on them and I have good memories of it.”