Support the project with paypal

MERSEY 2 class cruisers (4, 1887 - 1889)


Severn with funnel raised


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Mersey     Chatham DYd 9.7.1883 31.3.1885 6.1887 sold 4.1905
Severn     Chatham DYd 1.1.1884 29.9.1885 2.1888 sold 4.1905
Thames   209 Pembroke DYd 14.4.1884 3.12.1885 7.1888 depot ship 1903
Forth   211 Pembroke DYd 1.12.1884 23.10.1886 7.1889 depot ship 1903

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

91.4 pp 96.0 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 2-cyl HC, direct action, 12 cylindrical boilers

Power, h. p.

natural draught: 4500

forced draught: 6000

Max speed, kts

natural draught: 17

forced draught: 18

Fuel, t

coal 900

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmsteel; deck: 76 - 51, gunshields: 51, CT: 229

2 x 1 - 203/30 BL Mk IV, 10 x 1 - 152/26 BL Mk IV/VI, 3 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 3 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 9 x 1 - 11.4/87, 2 - 356 TT (1 bow, 1 aft, sub), 2 - 356 TC



Standard scale images

<i>Mersey </i>1887
Mersey 1887


<i>Severn </i>with funnel raised
Severn with funnel raised

Project history

These ships completed the stabilisation of the designs begun with the Iris and Mercury and established the pattern for future British second class cruisers. They followed closely the design of the Leander class but incorporated, for the first time, a full length protective deck. They were also the first vessels of the type to abandon any form of sailing rig and to be fitted with an armoured conning tower, which was positioned on the forecastle just forward of the mainmast. The 152mm guns were arranged as in Leander, except that all were mounted in sponsons on central pivot mountings in the Thames and Forth, while the two 203mm were mounted on the centreline on the forecastle and poop. They had much higher bulwarks than the Leanders and carried a spar deck amidships on which were mounted some of their MGs. The remaining internal arrangements were similar to those of the earlier types but they were the only major British cruisers of the late Victorian period with single funnels.

On trials both Thames and Severn exceeded 18kts, but Forth ran her trials in bad weather and only made 17.3kts while Mersey, which developed the highest, power at 6628ihp, did not have her speed recorded. They were handy ships, steady gun platforms and good sea bouts.

Ship protection

The armoured deck was 51mm on the flat and 76mm on the slope and at the forward end curved down to provide support behind the ram bow.


1893-1896, all: funnels were raised to improve the draught to the boilers

Naval service

Thames and Forth were converted to depot ships in 1903. Thames was sold in 1920 and became the TS General Botha Botha based at the Cape; in 1942 she reverted to her old name and was employed as an accommodation ship until 1945.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.

with funnel raised