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British Industrial History

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HMS Howe (1885)

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Built at Pembroke Dockyard, HMS Howe was an Admiral-class battleship of the Royal Navy, the last of the Admiral-class to be completed.

After accepting the case for building HMS Collingwood, the Admiralty ordered five similar vessels with somewhat more powerful armament - HMS Rodney, HMS Howe, HMS Anson, HMS Camperdown, and HMS Benbow.

Along with her sisters, Rodney, Camperdown and Anson, she was a progressive development of the design of Collingwood. She carried a main armament of four 13.5 in (340 mm) guns, compared to the 12 in (300 mm) guns carried in the earlier ship.

The Howe was a first-class battleship, designed by Sir N. Barnaby, and launched at Pembroke on the 29th of April, 1885. Her displacement was 10,300 tons, and she carries at the water-line 150ft. armour 18in. thick. She was 300ft. long over all; 68ft. beam, and drew 27ft. 3in. Her engines, by Humphrys, indicate 11,000-horse power. Her speed was 16 knots; she carried two 67-ton breech-loaders in each barbette. [1]

The Howe was fitted with twin-screw vertical compound engines by Messrs Humphrys, Tennant and Co., Deptford, on their well-known three-cylinder principle. Each set of engines had one high pressure cylinder 52in. in diameter, exhausting into two low pressure cylinders 74in. in diameter, supported in front by wrought iron columns turned bright, and at the back by cast iron frames which formed the piston-rod guides.

Trials of HMS Howe

"The Howe, armour-plated barbette ship of the Admiral class, of 9600 tons displacement, concluded an exhaustive and very satisfactory series of engine trials in the Solent in January 1886. Launched at Pembroke on April 29th 1885, the fitting of the machinery on board was taken in band by the contractors at the end of May, and she was brought round to Portsmouth under steam on November 14th to undergo her official trials and complete for sea.

During the trials, which were continued over three days, the Howe was under the command of Captain Tracey, of the Portsmouth Steam Reserve, the machinery being in charge of Mr. Robert H. Humphrys, of the contractors' firm, and among those who were officially present to observe the working of the engines and the behaviour of the ship under different rates of speed were Mr. James Wright, C.B., Engineer-in-Chief of the Navy, and Messrs. Sennett and Wildish, from the Admiralty; Mr. Alton, Chief Inspector of Machinery; Mr Robert Barnaby, constructor; and Mr. Corner, of the Steam Department of the Dockyard. With the exception of the second day, the weather throughout the trials was boisterous, the wind blowing with a force of from six to seven, with a choppy sea...Read More"

On 2 November 1892, she grounded on Ferrol Rock, and was salvaged with great difficulty, being finally freed on 30 March 1893.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1892/11/11
  • Biography of Sir William Henry White, ODNB [1]