The first ironclad ship built for the British Navy, a reply to the French armoured ship Gloire. Designed by Isaac Watts, the Royal Navy's chief constructor, with the assistance of the marine engineer John Scott Russell (1808–82), she was launched at Blackwall on the River Thames in 1860. With an overall length of 127.4 metres (418 ft) and a beam of 17.6 metres (58 ft), she was originally classified as a steam frigate of 9,210 tons, but in 1887 was reclassified as a 3rd-class armoured screw battleship. She had a complement of 705 officers and men, was armed with 26 68-pounder muzzle loaders, and ten 110-pounder and four 40-pounder breech loaders, and was protected by 11.4 centimetres (4.5 in.) of iron armour with 45.7 centimetres (18 in.) of teak backing. Her two-cylinder Penn steam engine and single two-bladed propeller gave her a maximum speed of 14.3 knots, but she also had a full outfit of masts and sails which totalled 4,495 square metres (48,400 sq. ft) which gave her a maximum speed of 13 knots. In 1904 she was renamed Vernon III and became part of the Vernon torpedo school at Portsmouth, continuing there until 1923 when she was removed from the Navy List. She served as an oil fuel pier at Pembroke for the next 50 years before being towed to Hartlepool to be restored to her original glory by the Warrior Preservation Trust at a cost of £7 million. She returned to Portsmouth in June 1987 as an outstanding example of ship preservation and is now open to the public at her purpose-built jetty in the Naval Dockyard.
Subjects: Maritime History.