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

HMS Warrior 1860

Armchair General


Readers of my previous ACG article (link) on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will recall that I promised a follow-up piece on the ironclad warship HMS Warrior. Not being one to disappoint, here it is at last.

I have been on board the Warrior many times and it never fails to thrill. During my recent attendance at the International Festival of the Sea (link), I had another opportunity to go aboard the Warrior for a look around. And here I am with my ACG (click to enlarge).



HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron-hulled armoured battleship. When she was built and launched in 1860, she made all other warships around the world obsolete overnight. Her guns had a longer range than anything else afloat, and her combination of steam driven engines and sails made her faster than anything she would ever face. Finally, her iron armour made her invulnerable to attack from any other ship in the seas. In summary, she could attack at a longer range than her opponents, and anything she couldn’t outgun she could outrun. It is therefore somewhat ironic that during her short career with the Royal Navy, not one single shot was ever fired in anger.

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images as I take you around this magnificently restored vessel.

You’ll find the following links of interest:

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

HMS Warrior

This report covers the following areas of the ship:

1) Exterior.

2) Top Deck

3) Below Decks.

4) Engine Room


With an overall length of 418 feet and a beam of 58 feet, HMS Warrior is an impressive ship. Built during the reign of Queen Victoria, the basic concept for her design consisted of a gigantic armoured "box" or "citadel" built from four and a half inch thick wrought iron plates which were then bolted to 18 inches of teak, and then in turn mounted on the hull’s one inch thick plating. This design was impregnable to guns of the period and even if the hull had been breached, internal compartments were designed to prevent water filling the entire ship. This design soon became standard around the world, but it is important to note that HMS Warrior was the first of her kind.

Warrior sits at the entrance to the Historic Dockyard, her imposing black hull giving visitors a fine foretaste of what lies within.

At the time of writing, Warrior’s rear section and a portion of her starboard hull are being worked on by restorers and cannot currently be seen.


Members of HMS Warrior’s "crew" greet visitors in period costumes (except for their walkie-talkies).


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