HMS Shah (1873)
HMS Shah (1873)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameShah (1873)Explanation
TypeUnarmoured frigate   
Launched10 September 1873
Builders measure4210 tons
Displacement6250 tons
Ships bookADM 135/51
NoteLaid down as Blonde.
1904 = C.470 c.h.
Sold 1919 and wrecked at Bermuda in 1926
Snippets concerning this vessels career
14 August 1876
- 1 December 1878
Commanded by Captain Frederick George Denham Bedford, flagship of Rear-Admiral Algernon Frederick Rous De Horsey on the Pacific station
2 December 1878
- 31 October 1879
Commanded by Captain Richard Bradshaw, Cape of Good Hope
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 28 August 1873In addition to the ships lately ordered to be constructed for Her Majesty's Navy, which appeared in The Times on Thursday last, the following are at present under construction at the various Government dockyards and by private firms:— Three composite screw sloops of 894 (727) tons and 720 (120)-horse power engines, to carry four guns each, to be named the Albatross, just launched at Chatham Dockyard; the Daring, building at Messrs. Money Wjgram and Sons', Blackwall; and the Egeria, under construction at Pembroke Dockyard. An iron steam troopship of two guns, 2,038 tons and 130-horse power engines, being built by Messrs. R. and H. Green, of Blackwall, to be named the Assistance. Two 14-gun iron screw corvettes, cased with wood, of 3,906 (2,679) tons, and 5,230 (700)-horse power engines, both being built in Portsmouth Dockyard, and to be called the Bacchante and the Boadicea; an iron screw frigate, cased with wood, of 5,696 (4,039) tons and 4,500 (l,000)-horse power engines, designed to carry 26 guns, to be named the Shah, and to be launched at Portsmouth early next month; the Flying Fish, a composite screw sloop, for four guns, of 727 (879) tons and 120 (720)-horse power engines, building at Chatham; an armour-plated turret ship, of 10,886 (5,030) tons and 7,000 (l,000)-horse power engines, to be named the Fury [renamed Dreadnought prior to launch], and designed to carry four "Woolwich Infants," 35-ton guns, being built at Pembroke Dockyard; a 14-gun iron screw corvette, of 3.451 tons and 4.750-horse power engines, to be named the Rover, and building by the Thames Shipbuilding Company, at Blackwall; a composite steam sloop for 4 guns, of 894 (727) tons, and 720 (120)-horse power engines, building by Messrs. Money Wigram and Sons, at Blackwall, to be named the Sappho; a double screw iron armour-plated ship for 12 guns, to be called the Superb, of 9,400 tuns, and 9,000-horse power engines, under construction at Chatham Dockyard; and eight double-screw iron gunboats, to carry one gun each, of 254 (245) tons, and 168 (23)-horse power engines, to be named the Ant, Cuckoo, Gadfly, Griper, Hyaena, Pincher, Tickler, and Weasel, four building at Pembroke Dockyard, and four by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead.
Th 11 September 1873


The launch of the Shah at Portsmouth was most successfully carried out yesterday under the superintendence of Mr. Robinson, Master Shipwright and Chief Engineer of Portsmouth Dockyard, The ceremony of christening was performed by Lady M’Clintock. Among the visitors on the occasion were Admiral Tarleton,K.C.B, the Earl of Camperdown, and Mr. Lefevre, M.P., from the Admiralty; Mr. Rewsell, Superintendent of Admiralty Contracts; Admiral Sir Rodney Mundy, Admiral-Superintendent Sir Leopold M'Clintock, Viscount Templetown, Admiral Sir T. Pasley, and a large number of naval and military officers and ladies, besides some thousands of spectators. On one side of the ship was stationed the band of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and on the other the band of the 4th King’s Own Borderers. At the bow of the ship was an exquisitely carved shield enclosing the Persian Royal Arms, with a scroll on either side in white and gold. On the stem, to correspond, two dolphins supporting the name of the ship — "Shah" — with a scroll on either ride. From the deck floated the Union Jack, the Persian Standard, the Royal Standard of England, the Admiralty flag, and the White Ensign. At a quarter-past 1 Lady M’Clintock dashed a bottle of wine against the bows, christening the ship "The Shah." Mr. Robinson, the Master Shipwright, having reported "all ready," Lady M’Clintock caused the ropes to be severed which suspended the weights. The ship hung for a short time, but hydraulic and other apparatus being employed, the ship glided gently and majestically into the water, amid cheers. The bands alternately played the Persian March, 'Rule Britannia,' and the National Anthem. Praise is due to the Master Shipwright and his staff, for the way in which all the work was carried out. There was not a single accident or mishap. The men of the yard were granted the remainder of the day as a halfholyday.
The launch of the Shah has added to the Navy an unarmoured iron screw frigate sheathed with wood. She was laid down on the 7th of March, 1870, as the Blonde, hut her name is changed in commemoration of the visit of the Shah of Persia. She is designed to carry 26 guns. The engines are to be supplied by Messrs. Ravenhill and Co., of 1,000-horse power (nominal), and will be fitted with Helsch's patent propeller. She is expected to attain great speed under steam, and, from the fineness of her bow, this expectation will no doubt be realised.
The principal dimensions are:—Length between perpendiculars, 334ft. 8in.; length of the keel for tonnage, 298ft 5in.; breadth extreme, 52ft.; breadth for tonnage, 51ft. 6in.; breadth moulded, 50ft. 4in.; depth in hold, 17ft 6½in.; burden in tons (O.M), 4,210 40-94; total weight when completed for sea, 5,700 tons ; load draught of water forward, 21ft; aft, 25ft.
She will carry about 950 tons of coals; this, at halfboiler power, would enable her to keep under steam for nine days, or, at full power, for four days, and it is expected that a speed of about 16 knots will be obtained at the Measured Mile. Her armament will be —maindeck,16 6½-ton guns on slides, two 64-pounders on common truck carriages Upper deck, two 12½-ton guns, six 64-pounders. The 12½-ton guns on the upper deck are carried one at each end of the ship; turntables are fitted from side to side. These guns are covered by the poop and forecastle, which give protection from rifle-firing, falling spars, &c., when in action. The ports are recessed, and allow a great range of fire.
The foremost gun, or bow chaser, fires from two ports of a side, and commands an arc of from 23 degrees abaft the beam to five degrees across the keel, or a total range of 118 degrees; the after gun, firing from one port of a side, has a range of from 15 degrees before the beam to 5 degrees across the keel, giving a total range of 110 degrees.
The poop is a novel feature in the construction of this ship, and the armament is considered a great improvement on that of the Inconstant, a similar ship, the heavier guns being carried on the upper deck, where they can be given the greatest possible range, and being available when main-deck guns could not be used.
She will be fitted with Forester’s steam-steering gear, steam capstans, and all the modern improvements in steam pumps and auxiliary engines for fire service.
The ship is divided, by means of water-tight bulkheads and flats, into 12 compartments; the iron plating is covered on the outside with two thicknesses of carefully selected teak planking, the inner thickness secured to the ship with iron fastenings, the outer secured to the inner thickness by metal fastenings. Great care is taken to prevent any galvanic action between the iron of the hull and the copper with which the outside sheathing will be covered. For the same reason the after-part of the keel, together with the stern and rudder-posts, are formed of gun-metal. These, together with the rudder, have all been cast in the dockyard at Portsmouth, and weigh about 50 tons.
The ship’s side, on the main deck between the guns, will be lined with paper half an inch in thickness; this is to prevent the spread of splinters, which would be caused were the sides lined in the ordinary way with wood; and it is to be observed that the work, both in wood and iron, has been admirably carried out, and will bear comparison with any yet done.

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