Book Review: HMS Warrior 1860: Victoria's Ironclad Deterrent


by Andrew Lambert

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011. Pp. 224. Illus., diagr., tables, appends., notes., index. $65.95. ISBN: 1591143829

Originally published in 1987, this edition of HMS Warrior 1860 has been thoroughly revised and expanded, with many new plans, diagrams, and illustrations, the latter often in full color, and covers the history of the ship down to the present.

Completed in 1861, Warrior was the first seagoing iron-hulled steam warship, much larger, more powerful, and better protected than the somewhat older wood-and-iron ironclads built in France.  This work covers her history from the inception of the design, through its construction, operation, and service, which was actually relatively short: Warrior was relegated to reserve status after only ten years service, and later passed out of the fleet, having been surpassed by even larger and more powerful vessels.  There followed years of neglect, eterioration, and near oblivion.  Finally, her hulk was rediscovered in the 1960s and an ambitious restoration began which was completed in 1987, when she was opened to the public at Portsmouth.  An important part of the work is the look it provides at the “lessons learned” and problems identified in preserving and maintaining so old and large a vessel. 

This oversize, handsomely done volume is an essential work for anyone interested in naval policy at the beginning of the ironclad era, the history of the Royal Navy, maritime history, and historic preservation.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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