If HMS Victory represents the peak of wooden-hulled sailing ship design, HMS Warrior marks the beginning of the end.
Launched in 1860, she was Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship and, what's more, she could be powered by steam as well as sail.
The Main Gun Deck
Along with her sister ship HMS Black Prince, she was designed by Chief Constructor of the Navy Isaac Watts and Chief Engineer Thomas Lloyd in response to the launch of the French wooden-hulled iron-clad warship Gloire a year earlier.
No sails meant the guns could be mounted in turrets on top of the hull, rather than inside, giving Devastation a recognisably modern outline. Warrior was thus one of the last ships to have a broadside mounted gun deck. Interestingly, the design dates back to 1501 making the Mary Rose (1511) one of the first.
In 1871 Warrior was downgraded to coastguard and reserve services; she was converted to a floating school for the Navy in 1904, and finally put up for sale as scrap in 1924.
However no buyer could be found, and five years later she was converted into a floating oil pontoon at Pembroke Dock where she remained until the depot closed in 1978.
Warrior then passed to the Maritime Trust, and was towed 800 miles to Hartlepool where began the largest maritime restoration project ever undertaken. Eight years later, HMS Warrior began the four-day journey back to Portsmouth pulled by tugs.