The Design of the Inconstant
The Confederate warship Alabama and other commerce raiders caused such damage to British merchant shipping that interest developed during the 1860s in the development of fast unarmoured cruisers. The United States built U.S.S. Wampanoag; Great Britain responded with H.M.S. Inconstant. Two men were central to Inconstant’s design and construction – Vice-Admiral Robert Spencer Robinson, Surveyor and later Controller of the Navy, and Chief Constructor of the Navy Edward Reed. However, their personalities, insufficient strategic clarity within the Royal Navy, and faith in the desirability of armour protection caused Inconstant and her derivatives to be an isolated episode in British cruiser design.