This has been one of the best school trips I have taken

I am just writing to say how much we all enjoyed our trip to the Warrior... Your workshop was excellent and has given me plenty of ideas for follow up work. The children really got a sense of being there because they had some practical experiences.

Can I just complement all the workshop leaders and the volunteers who took my group around the Warrior. All were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. This has been one of the best school trips I have taken!... Thanks again for all your help and wonderful organisation. Brilliant!

Staff went above and beyond

Staff went above and beyond and were very knowledgeable and were fantastic at motivating and engaging the students....especially impressed with the flexible way in which we were able to co-plan the visit.

Personally Crafted Workshop

The Learning Staff listened to all we needed and crafted this into our workshop…. (Learning Officer) took a lot of time to help us and this really showed in the way the day proceeded…the children got exactly what we wanted them to from the day.

What a wonderful historic ship

My husband and our friends visited the HMS Warrior on a very wet and windy day, we weren't too sure what to expect and once on board we were really pleased that we had chosen the HMS Warrior - what a wonderful historic ship. I must also thank the wonderful guides that showed us around and made us feel that we were important. They made our imaginations soar and made our day out such a memorable one. I just wanted to say a big Thankyou.

CAN YOU HELP? #OldWarriors

Warrior Preservation Trust is collecting information relating to the crew of HMS Warrior 1860 across all her service periods and subsequent namesakes, but particularly so for her first commission from 1861 – 1864 (for a history of Warrior’s service, see our History section).

We would love to hear from you if you have service records, diaries, logbooks, photographs, paintings - in fact, any record or material that relates to your relative and the ship or her namesakes. If you have something that may be of interest, please include digital photographs or scans of items where possible, and contact Please allow at least one month for a response.

Family History Research

Warrior Preservation Trust does not hold official service records within our collections. For advice about what these are, what they contain and where full service records can be obtained, please look at the National Archives Guides and Resources.

General Research

We are unfortunately unable to complete research on the behalf of enquirers.

If you are looking to make a research appointment, we require a minimum of two weeks' notice in advance of an intended visit. Preferred appointment times cannot be guaranteed and general Museum admission may be charged. You must have a confirmed appointment in order to visit our archive.

For any other enquiries, or if you are looking to donate to the collection, (please include digital photographs or scans of items where possible), please contact Please allow at least one month for a response to your enquiry. Enquiries are dealt with free of charge but donations towards supporting our work are appreciated.

Ship’s Plans

Ship’s Plans for HMS Warrior 1860 are held in the collection of the National Maritime Museum

If you wish to build a model of the ship, please see William Mowell 'Building a Working Model Warship: HMS Warrior 1860'.


Warrior Preservation Trust welcomes donations for the collection within the limits of our Acquisitions and Collections Development Policies.

In broad terms, this involves items relating to Warrior and her sister ship Black Prince through all stages of their careers. We are also interested in information pertaining to the crew of HMS Warrior between 1861 and 1904, of HMS Vernon lll 1904-1923 and material relating to Warrior’s subsequent namesakes.

We cannot always accept material offered for the collection, for instance if it duplicates an item we already have. If we cannot accept an item, we may be able to recommend an alternative home.

We are currently improving our archive facilities, which will be accessible and open to potential users in the near future.

If you are looking to donate to the collection, (please include digital photographs or scans of items where possible), or have any information you think may be of interest, please contact Please allow at least one month for a response.

For family history enquiries, see Old Warriors

For any other enquiry, please contact Enquiries are dealt with free of charge but donations towards supporting our work are appreciated.


There were mixed emotions in Hartlepool as the town bid farewell to the ship that had spent seven years in its care.

In the afternoon of Friday 12th June 1987, Warrior was pulled by tugs from her moorings and she began the four day journey back to Portsmouth. Tankers, ferries and trawlers turned out all along the east coast to salute her. In the English Channel, she had a memorable encounter with HMS London, the Royal Navy's newest vessel. London signalled the message "The Navy's newest ironclad is in company with the oldest... I hope we look as good as you at your age"

On June 16th 1987, 58 years after she left Portsmouth in a terrible state, Warrior made her triumphant return. As she came slowly towards the narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbour an armada of small boats greeted her, guns fired, klaxons sounded, crowds cheered, fireworks exploded, and thousands of red, white and blue balloons filled the air.

It could have been when, as the pride of the fleet, she had first stirred the country's imagination.

After an hour of careful manoeuvring, she entered her berth. At 5:45pm the tow rope was dropped and Warrior was home to stay - taking her place within Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

"If every warship in the 19th century still existed and was available for preservation Warrior would still be my first choice". Sir John Smith.

As a pivotal Royal Naval ship, Warrior had not been forgotten. In 1967 people first started to talk about restoring Warrior. Prominent in this campaign was John Smith, at the time MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, who had formed the Manifold Trust five years earlier to restore threatened items of our national heritage

Even the House of Commons heard of Warrior's fate. MPs were told that Warrior could serve as "a potent source of education and inspiration for our children...."

Smith's drive and persistence led to a committee, chaired by the Duke of Edinburgh, meeting in 1968 to discuss Warrior's future. From this emerged the Maritime Trust, formed to raise money for the preservation of our naval heritage. Following the announcement that the oil depot would close in 1978, and that Warrior would no longer be needed, Sir John Smith agreed that the Manifold Trust would underwrite the cost of restoration, estimated between £4-8 million, and the ship was handed over to the Maritime Trust in 1979.

Warrior was towed 800 miles to Hartlepool where the world's largest maritime project ever undertaken then began.

In 1983 ownership was transferred to the Ship's Preservation Trust, which became the Warrior Preservation Trust in 1985.

The stokers and trimmers had the worst jobs so were paid 50 per cent more. They toiled in the stokehold in appalling conditions, shovelling tons of coal and ash by hand in temperatures of about 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degree Centigrade). The air was thick with dust, and the noise was indescribable.

Another vital task was coaling up. This took place every few weeks when suitable port facilities were available. The job was dirty and complicated, and involved all the crew. The gun deck was cleared with tables up, guns back and ports opened. Seamen and Marines filled two cwt (100kg) wicker panniers aboard the collier berthed alongside. The panniers were hauled through the gunports, lifted over the deck and emptied down six chutes to stokers in the bunkers below. Two full days were needed to load 805 tons of coal. The ship's resident 16 piece band played rousing melodies to keep the crew's morale up. Tons of dry coal blackened the gun deck to such an extent that it took a week to clean up afterwards.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Warrior was the first warship to have washing machines!

Wooden warships had attained their optimum length, their multiple gun decks making them unstable. Warrior's ingenious design incorporated just one long, very stable gun deck - 100 feet longer than any previous warship. Her firepower could blow any other vessel out of the water. While wooden ships carried 32-pounder guns, Warrior had 68-pounders and 110-pounders. She was the ultimate deterrent.

Of the two types of heavy gun carried by Warrior the 68 pounder was most numerous, with twenty six on board. This gun was designed in 1846 by Colonel Dundas, weighing 6 tons on its elm carriage. 18 men were required to man the position and could achieve a rate of fire of one round every 55 seconds. Although equipped with fitted sights, the trajectory was erratic. Due to the smooth bore nature of the gun effective range was limited to 2,000 yards. Complementing the 68 lb muzzle loading guns were ten 110 pound guns.

The Admiralty opted for these relatively untried breech loading guns, designed in 1859 by Tyneside engineer, William Armstrong and weighing 4.1 tons. Again a gun crew of 18 men were required to discharge one round every 50 seconds.

One innovation was the barrel's rifling. This made the shot fly true and spin so that the tapered point hit the target first. This heralded the introduction of the percussion fuse, which detonated the shell on impact.

Another new feature was the loading method. The guns did not have to be drawn back into the ship; both projectile and charge were loaded through the breech screw and the chamber sealed with a block.

Equipped with tangent elevated sights and a rifled bore, accuracy up to 4,500 yards was expected, making it far more efficient than any smooth bore gun in use at the time.

The guns were not as impressive at sea as first hoped. It proved impossible to create a gas tight seal between the block and breech, reducing the ability to fire rapidly and safely.