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Posted on Jul 20, 2005 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

HMS Warrior 1860

Armchair General

BELOW DECKS

The immaculate interior below decks is characterised by low beams, sparkling brass work and is surprisingly light given the relatively cramped spaces the crew had to work in. Every spare inch is used for storage purposes, with equipment stowed in the roof spaces and between the guns and benches. Note the metal shafts between the ceiling and the deck which can be hinged upwards to facilitate the moving or removal of equipment such as the guns.

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Unlike earlier ships such as HMS Victory, the front spar does not extend down several decks but instead ends just below the top deck at the front of the ship. Behind the spar we see a glimpse of shipboard life – livestock would have travelled with the crew, although these examples are undoubtedly quieter than those of the day.

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A second ship’s wheel sits below the one on the upper deck. During rough weather both the upper and lower wheels would have been fully manned to steer the ship away from trouble.

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Guns share the living spaces with the crew. These guns sit mere inches away from the benches and tables where the gun crews would have eaten their daily meals. Of course, the requirements of day-to-day living would have been put aside during battle, and everything you see here is capable of being stowed or hinged away.

HMS Warrior had just one gun deck and had enough firepower to utterly destroy anything else afloat. She was the Trident Submarine of her time, an ultimate deterrent to Britain’s enemies.

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Here’s a glimpse down the barrel of one of the guns, and a picture of just some of the type of shell used by HMS Warrior.

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Large shafts between decks are built presumably to aid equipment transfer to the depths of the ship. As these pictures show, metal grills cover these shafts on each deck. You can also see some cannonballs stored in racks on the deck. Unlike HMS Victory, the staircases on Warrior are actually of a reasonable gradient and do not immediately prompt the visitor to fall flat on their face.

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