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BLAKE 1 class protected cruisers (2, 1892 - 1894)


Blake as completed


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Blake     Chatham DYd 7.1888 23.11.1889 2.2.1892 destroyer depot ship 8.1907
Blenheim     Thames Iron Works, Blackwall 25.11.1888 5.7.1890 26.5.1894 destroyer depot ship 5.1906

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

114.3 pp 121.8 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



4 3-cyl VITE, 6 cylindrical double-ended boilers

Power, h. p.

natural draught: 13000

forced draught: 20000

Max speed, kts

natural draught: 19

forced draught: 21.4

Fuel, t

coal 1800

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmcompound; deck: 152 - 76, gunshields of 234mm guns: 114, casemates: 152, CT: 305

2 x 1 - 234/32 BL Mk VI, 10 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk I/II, 16 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 - 356 TT (1 bow sub, 2 beam aw, 1 aft sub)



Standard scale images

<i>Blenheim </i>1894
Blenheim 1894


<i>Blake </i>as completed
Blake as completed

Project history

Designed by William White, these two ships provided the pattern for British first class cruiser construction for the following decade. In general they followed the layout of the Orlando, having the same armament and a similar appearance, but they relied for protection on a full length armoured deck, hit her to employed only in smaller cruisers. They were also the largest cruisers built to date, mainly as a result of incorporating exceptionally powerful machinery and a large coal capacity. Thus White provided a true first class cruiser with high speed and endurance combined with adequate seakeeping, armament and protection to meet the Admiralty's requirements for a ship suitable for long range trade protection or work with the fleet. Unfortunately the machinery was not capable of meeting the design specification: neither ship achieved the designed speed while endurance was about 10000nm at 10kts instead of the designed 15000nm. However, both exceeded the designed power and proved capable of steaming at 19kts under natural draught for long periods. The best trial speeds at forced draught were 21.4kts for Blake and 21.8kts for Blenheim, but forcing caused serious boiler deterioration and could not be employed generally. Blake's boilers proved the most troublesome and she was reboilered in 1899.     As designed the guns were disposed as in Orlando but the need to provide a wider distribution as defence against the appearance of medium calibre QF guns resulted in two of the 152mm guns on each side being moved down to the main deck. These four guns were provided with armoured casemates, die first appearance of this feature which was to become typical of White's ships. Each ship had four engines, two for each shaft, arranged in two engine rooms each divided by a centreline bulkhead. At full power all engines were employed but for low speed the forward engines were disconnected and only the after pair used. Besides the main double-ended boilers they carried a single-ended auxiliary boiler.     Both ships completed in 1892 but Blenheim did not commission until 1894.

Ship protection

The arched steel protective (lower) deck was 76mm on the crown and 152mm at the sides, the top being 0.5m above Iwl and the outer edge 2m below. The engine cylinders projected above this deck and were protected by an 203mm glacis around the engine hatch.



Naval service

In 1906-1907 both ships were partially disarmed and converted to depot ships for destroyers, armament was reduced to 4 152mm, 4 102mm and 4 76mm guns. Blake was sold for BU in June 1922 and Blenheim in July 1926.

as completed