HMS Warrior in her Portsmouth moorings is an impressive presence from the mid-Victorian age of British shipping. Built in London in 1860 as the first iron hulled battleship she drew large crowds including Dickens who described her as “a black vicious customer as ever I saw. Whale like in size, and with as terrible a row of incisor teeth as ever closed on a French frigate.”
Despite the name and armaments HMS Warrior never saw battle but her formidable reputation was deterrent to the French navy on the high seas as well as an assertive presence for blockade runners to Bermuda when Britain was guarding her trade interests of cotton and tobacco coming from the Confederate states.
“The combination of iron hull, armourplate, breechloading guns and powerful steam screw propulsion meant that she could outrun and outgun any ship afloat.”
After an ignominious end in obsolescence she became a neglected and decayed hulk ready for the cutting torch but a last minute reprieve began 100 years after her launch. With much money and restoration, she has been ressurected…and continues to require preservation.
Next post: Warrior – below decks