British Battleships Part I Some Notes on the mid-Victorian Transformation in Battleship Design
Ten years before the death of Victoria the battleship had become an all-metal structure, propelled by an artificially generated internal agency and armed not only with heavy power-worked ordnance mounted outside and above the hull altogether, but with weapons for under-water attack. In its motive equipment the battlefleet of 1870 combined the last stage of the old order with the first of the new. Judged by the standards of their day the battleships of 1870 were very fine steamers when driven hard, quite as fast in their measured mile speeds of 12 to 15 knots as the best contemporary mail liners’ and faster than any contemporary cruisers, with two or three exceptions. In the matter of external appearances the mid-Victorian armoured sea force might very well have been known as the Black Battlefleet of our history.