The ships were one of four pairs of scouts ordered to a general specification with the exact design left up to the individual builders. They were built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan at a cost of £289,000 each. The class was originally designated as Nore but this was changed before their construction. Their main disadvantage in action proved to be a lack of range and endurance, having been designed at a time when destroyer operations were planned to take place relatively close to home bases, rather than on long patrols on the open sea. Fairfield's original design was criticised by the Admiralty for lacking structural strength and being unrealistic regarding coal consumption. A complete redesign was undertaken but in practice the problem of their lack of range was never satisfactorily addressed. Not long after completion, two additional 12-pounder guns were added and the 3-pounder guns were replaced with six 6 pounders. In 1911-12 they were reamed with nine 4-inch (102 mm) guns.
They were protected with a 2-inch (51 mm) armour belt, with one inch plating on the decks, in an effort to reduce their weight and increase their speed. The 365-foot (111.3 m) long ships displaced 2,850 tons and produced 15,000 horsepower (11,190 kW) which gave them a best speed of 25 knots (46.3 km/h). Despite this, they were slower than the new destroyers they were planned to lead and were increasingly relegated to other roles. Both ships survived the First World War, but were scrapped shortly after its end.