The End of the Victorian Navy

By Antony Preston, published November 1974


Victorian Naval policy between 1884 and 1904 introduced, against considerable prejudice, political, administrative, technical and shipbuilding changes. Obsolete battleship classes with sail, muzzle-loaders and wrought-iron armour were transmogrified into the all-steel /Admiral/ and /Royal/ /Sovereign/ classes. Cruisers, torpedo-boats and destroyers followed in great numbers. Shipbuilding practice, gun production and boiler design were transformed. The Naval Defence Act and the Spencer programme funded the construction of some two hundred ships but the economics of the arms race between 1896 and 1901, which produced fifty-nine capital ships, led to diplomatic solutions. The Navy, before Fisher’s modernisation, was an efficient fighting service.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

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