HMS Northampton (1876)

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HMS Northampton (1876).jpg
HMS Northampton is dressed overall in this photograph of her as she appeared after the addition of a fighting top to her mizzen during her 1889-1891 refit.
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Northampton
Builder: Robert Napier and Sons, Govan
Laid down: 26 October 1874
Launched: 18 November 1876
Commissioned: 1881
Reclassified: Training ship, June 1894
Fate: Sold for scrap, 4 April 1905
General characteristics
Class and type: Nelson-class armoured cruiser
Displacement: 7,630 long tons (7,750 t)
Length: 280 ft (85 m) (p/p)
Beam: 60 ft (18 m)
Draught: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 compound-expansion steam engines
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Complement: 560
Armour: Belt: 6–9 in (152–229 mm)

HMS Northampton was a Nelson-class armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 1870s. She was sold for scrap in 1905.

Design and description[edit]

The Nelson-class ships were designed as enlarged and improved versions of HMS Shannon to counter the threat of enemy armoured ships encountered abroad. The ships had a length between perpendiculars of 280 feet (85.3 m), a beam of 60 feet (18.3 m) and a deep draught of 25 feet 9 inches (7.8 m). Northampton displaced 7,630 long tons (7,750 t), about 2,000 long tons (2,000 t) more than Shannon. The steel-hulled ships were fitted with a ram and their crew numbered approximately 560 officers and other ranks.[1]

The ship had two 3-cylinder, inverted compound steam engines, each driving a single propeller, using steam provided by 10 oval boilers. The cylinders of the Northampton's engines could be adjusted in volume to optimize steam production depending on the demand. They were troublesome throughout the ship's life and she was always about 1 knot (1.9 km/h; 1.2 mph) slower than her sister despite repeated efforts to improve her speed. The engines produced 6,073 indicated horsepower (4,529 kW) and she failed achieve her designed speed of 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) on her sea trials, only making 13.17 knots (24.39 km/h; 15.16 mph). The Nelson-class ships carried a maximum of 1,150 long tons (1,170 t) of coal which gave them an economical range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at a speed of 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph). They were barque-rigged with three masts.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

Northampton, named after the eponymous city, was laid down by Robert Napier and Sons at their shipyard in Govan, Scotland, launched on 18 December 1876, and completed on 7 December 1879.[3]

Northampton was flagship of the North America and West Indies Station until she was placed in reserve in 1886.[4] She was hulked as a boys' training ship in 1894 and used in home waters. In November 1901 she put up at Chatham Dockyard for alterations and a refit,[5] and was not finished until June the following year. Captain W. G. White was in command in 1902, when she took part in the fleet review held at Spithead on 16 August 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII.[6] She was sold for breaking up in 1905 to Thos W Ward, of Morecambe.[4]


  1. ^ Parkes, p. 239
  2. ^ Parkes, pp. 239, 243
  3. ^ Silverstone, p. 254
  4. ^ a b Lyon & Winfield, p. 268
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36613). London. 15 November 1901. p. 4. 
  6. ^ "Naval Review at Spithead". The Times (36847). London. 15 August 1902. p. 5. 


  • Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2012). British Cruisers of the Victorian Era. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-59114-068-9. 
  • Lyon, David & Winfield, Rif (2004). The Sail & Steam Navy List. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-032-9. 
  • Parkes, Oscar (1990). British Battleships (reprint of the 1957 ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-075-4. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0. 

External links[edit]