HMS Niger (1846)
HMS Niger (1846)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameNiger (1846)Explanation
TypeSloop (1862: Corvette)   
Launched18 November 1846   
HullWooden Length194 feet
PropulsionScrew Men160
Builders measure1013 tons   
Displacement1454 tons   
Fate1869 Last in commission1869
Ships bookADM 135/325   
18 November 1846Launched at Woolwich Dockyard.
9 July 1850
- November 1854
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Commander Leopold George Heath, west coast of Africa, then (end of 1852) Mediterranean (and in 1854 the Black Sea during the Russian War, Heath being beach-master at Eupatoria during the landing)
2 February 1855
- 31 January 1856
Commanded (until paying off at Woolwich) by Commander Henry William Hire, Mediterranean, and the Black Sea during the Russian War
14 May 1856
- 8 September 1858
Commanded (from commissioning at Woolwich) by Captain Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, East Indies and China, (including 2nd Anglo-Chinese War) (until Cochrane invalided)
8 September 1858
- 13 September 1861
Commanded (until paying off at Woolwich) by Captain Peter Cracroft, East Indies and China then Australia and New Zealand Wars
3 February 1865
- 9 October 1865
Commanded (from commissioning at Woolwich) by Captain John Clarke Byng, North America and West Indies (untill Byng invalided)
9 October 1865
- 9 December 1868
Commanded (until paying off at Woolwich) by Captain James Minchin Bruce, North America and West Indies
2 December 1869Sold to Castle for breaking up at Charlton.
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Ma 24 February 1845

22 February 1845

Mr Lang, master shipwright at Woolwich Dockyard, has been ordered to lay down a first-class steam-sloop, to be named the Niger, upon a plan submitted by himself, and she is to have a screw propeller and be completed in March 1847.
We 10 September 1845

9 September 1845

The Amphion, of 36 guns, converting into a steam-vessel with screw propeller at Woolwich, is ordered to be completed as soon as possible for commission; and the Niger steam-vessel, ordered to be built at that dockyard, is to be proceeded with. These works require a number of hands, and instructions have been issued to employ 60 extra shipwrights, 12 blacksmiths, and 6 joiners.
Sa 24 October 1846

23 October 1846

The Niger stream-vessel, building at Woolwich Dockyard, is to be launched on the 3r of November.
Fr 6 November 1846

5 November 1846

The Grappler, steam-vessel, Lieutenant-Commander Hawker, is expected to leave Woolwich on Tuesday next, her services being required immediately. A number of men are employed upon her to get her ready, and so many others have been required to finish the vessels already in an advanced state, that the launch of the Niger steam-vessel has been postponed until workmen can be spared to make her ready for launching.
Th 19 November 1846

18 November 1846

The Niger steam vessel, built at Woolwich dockyard from a design from by Mr. 0. Lang, and to be fitted with one of Mr. Smith's screw propellers, 13 feet in diameter, was launched to-day at 25 minutes past 1 o'clock, p.m. The vessel was named by Mrs. Dwyer, wife of Captain Dwyer, R.N. Amongst the officers present were Captain Henderson, C.B. of the Sidon steam frigate; Commander Smith, of the William and Mary yacht; Commander Hamond, of the Medea steam vessel; Captain Wellesley and Captain Knox, studying steam at the factory, and a number of officers of the Royal Artillery and Royal Marines. The vessel is very strongly put together, and her decks have been coated with marine glue, and the heads of the whole of the copper nails and bolts sunk an inch each into the wood, and then covered with a coating of the marine glue, and covered with a circular piece of wood about an inch thick, joined with the same material, forming an apparently solid deck easily cleaned and kept in the best order.

The Niger went off the stocks in fine style amidst the cheers of the assembled spectators, and she looks remarkably well in her future element. The following are her dimensions:-
Length between the perpendiculars1850
Keel tonnage1677 1/8
Breadth extreme348
Do. for tonnage344
Do. moulded338
Depth in engine room216
Burthen in tons 1013 51-94 old measurement.
Do. do. 923 1505-3500 new do.
Engines 400 horse power.
Th 21 June 1849The Basilisk and Niger.— The most contradictory opinions continue to be expressed regarding the comparative merits of these steam-vessels. Generally speaking, those naval officers who were long accustomed to the propulsion of shipping by sails, before the introduction of steam, are most attached to the principle of the screw. They say that the machinery of the Niger is 150 tons less heavy than that of her competitor, that she can keep closer to the wind, carry double the metal, and in case of action that her paddle being under water is entirely free from dancer. On the other side, the supporters of the Basilisk prove by the last experiments that her steam power of propulsion is undoubtedly superior to that of the Niger, and they contend that the screw ought not to be considered in any other light than that of an auxiliary.
Sa 20 April 1850In Harbour. - The Victory, Excellent, Illustrious, Blenheim, Fanny, and Portsmouth tenders, the Echo tug, and the Locust steam-vessel.
In Dock. - The St Vincent, Winchester, Fox, Penelope, Rapid, and Electra.
In the Basin. - The Niger, Devastation, Fantome, Griffon, and Fairy.
In the Steam Basin. - Termagant, Hecate, Victoria and Albert, Bulldog, Blazer, Flamer, Pike, Asp, and Elfin.
We 21 November 1855


By the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamship Indus, Captain Soy, with the India and Mediterranean mails, we have dates from Alexandria to November 6, Malta 10, and Gibraltar 15.
The Indus brings 52 passengers, and on freight one package of specie, value 100l., and a cargo, consisting of 84 boxes of almonds, 230 boxes of raisins, 47 barrels and six boxes of dates, 10 cases of musk, one case of pictures, two cases of cigars, 718 bales of silk, eight bales of wool, two hogsheads of wine, 50 cases of silk, 30 packages of samples, 21 cases of shawls, 17 packages of effects, nine packages of elephants' teeth, one case of tortoiseshell, and 80 packages of general merchandise.
Her Majesty's ships Hibernia, London, Rodney, Wasp, Niger, Vulcan, Shearwater, and Ceylon, were at Malta.
We 22 August 1860Her Majesty’s sloop Elk, 12, Commander H. Campion, which was paid off at Chatham yesterday, has been in commission upwards of four years, during which period she has seen a great deal of active service both in China and in other distant parts of the world. She was commissioned at Chatham on the 6th of May, 1856, by Commander J. Hamilton, who was succeeded in August, 1858, by Commander Campion, formerly of the Vulcan, 6, [should be: Falcon] on being promoted. The Elk, on leaving England, proceeded to China, and formed one of the squadron engaged in the Chinese waters until the termination of hostilities. The whole of the crew who could be spared formed a portion of the naval brigade under Commodore Stevens [should be Stewart], of the Nankin, 50, and were present at the capture of Canton, and other places. After the discontinuance of operations in the China seas, the Elk sailed from Hongkong for Australia in the month of April, 1858, and after arriving was employed for several months in making a minute search along the coast and through every part of Bass's Straits for Her Majesty's missing ship Sappho, but without success. The Elk left Sydney on the 1st of March for Auckland, which was reached on the 12th of March, just at the time the insurrection was raging in New Zealand. A portion of the crew and several of the ship's guns were landed to form a part of the naval brigade, and the men volunteering for this service were left behind. On the 26th of April the Elk left Auckland for England, at which time the following vessels of Her Majesty were at New Zealand — viz., the Iris, 26, Commodore W. Loring, C.B.; the Pelorus, 21, screw corvette, Commodore F.B.P. Seymour; the Niger, 13, screw steamer, Capt. P. Cracroft; and the Cordelia, 11, screw steamer, Commander C.E.H. Vernon. During the voyage home, and when near the entrance to the river Plate, the ship was caught in a tremendous typhoon, which raged for 48 hours, during which the vessel suffered severely, and it was only by the very best seamanship that vessel and crew were not lost. The Elk, since she has been in commission, has been constantly employed on service, and has sailed over upwards of 132,000 miles. Upwards of 20 of her crew have died from cholera, dysentery, and other causes, exclusive of a number invalided home. The crew have been exceedingly well-behaved, and the infliction of corporal punishment has been very rare. On the crew being paid off yesterday a silver medal, together with a gratuity of 10l., was awarded by the Admiralty to John Turner, captain of the after-guard, for good conduct and long service. The Elk, which is in very good condition, is to be attached to the reserve ordinary at Chatham. Second Lieut. O'Grady and the boatswain of the ship are under arrest, awaiting their trial by court-martial.
Fr 17 March 1865Admirals Sir Frederick Grey and R.S. Robinson, with other members of the Board of Admiralty, are expected to arrive at Portsmouth this morning and visit that portion of our ironclad fleet now lying at Spithead and in Portsmouth harbour, and a few hours cruise may possibly be taken by them off the Isle of Wight. The ships now lying at Spithead comprise the iron frigate Achilles, 20 guns, 1,250-horse power, Capt. E.W. Vansittart; the Black Prince, 40 guns, 1,250-horse power, Capt. Lord Frederick Kerr; the Royal Sovereign, 5, iron-cased turret ship, Capt. A.C. Key, C.B., temporary (of Her Majesty's ship Excellent); the Liverpool, 34, wooden frigate, 600-horse power, Capt. R. Lambert; and the Niger, 10, screw corvette, 400-horse power, Capt. Byng. The Royal Sovereign steamed out of Portsmouth harbour to Spithead yesterday morning, where she anchored near the other vessels lying there. The Edgar, a wooden screw liner, is in Portsmouth harbour fitting for her Lisbon voyage; and the Hector, iron frigate, Capt. G.W. Preedy, is also there.
The iron frigate Achilles, 20 guns, 1,250-horse power, of engines, Capt. E.W. Vansittart, made her final trial over the measured knot course in Stokes Bay, near Portsmouth, on Tuesday, with her new four-bladed propeller, which has recently been supplied to her at Devonport. The ship drew 25ft. 11in. Forward and 26ft. 11in. aft. She was supplied with "Royal Yacht" coal for the trial. This is of the kind known as Nixon's Aberdare, from the 4ft. lower seam, and from its superior quality was supplied to the Warrior on the day of her trial. The Achilles' new screw was of the same diameter and pitch as the one she broke during her last trial over the course in Stokes Bay. Plenty of steam was generated, and the results of the trial may be stated to be as follows: - Mean speed of the ship in six runs over the mile with full boiler power, 14·322 knots; mean speed in four runs with half boiler power, 12·049 knots; indicated horse power of the engines, as developed on the indicator diagrams, 5,724; pressure of steam in boilers, 26·16lb.; pressure of steam in cylinders, 25·34lb. The speed of our three largest ironclads that have yet been placed under trial is relatively thus:- Warrior, full power, 14·354 knots; Achilles, ditto, 14·322; Black Prince, ditto, 13·584. According to these figures, therefore, the Warrior still maintains her position as the fastest ship in Her Majesty's navy by about 32 thousandths of a knot in excess of the Achilles' speed. The hull of the Achilles has a mean immersion of about 3in. in excess of the hull of the Warrior, and this excess will fully account for the slight difference in speed between the two ships. Both vessels have engines made from the same patterns by Messrs. John Penn and Sons, and the detailed working out of the trials gives an astonishing similarity in the results attained by the power exerted by the engines in comparison with the area of each ship's midship section.
Fr 19 November 1869The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have directed the sale of another batch of war vessels, lying at Portsmouth, Sheerness, and Devonport. The list includes Her Majesty's screw frigate Emerald, 2,913 tons, built at Deptford in 1856; the screw sloop Miranda, 1,039 tons, built at Sheerness in 1851: the screw sloop Wasp, 974 tons, built at Deptford in 1850; the screw sloop Sharpshooter, 503 tons, built at Blackwall in 1846; the screw sloop Niger, 1,002 tons, built at Woolwich in 1846; the paddlewheel steam vessel Thais, 302 tons, built at Messrs. Laird's yard, Birkenhead, in 1856; and the hulls of the steamers Coronation and Plym. The sale, which will be the third of war vessels since the Recess, will be held at Lloyd's Captains' room, Royal Exchange, in the early part of the ensuing month. The Wasp and Sharpshooter are now lying at Portsmouth, the Emerald, Miranda, and Niger at Sheerness, and the Thais, Coronation, and Plym at Devonport.

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