Images of the ironclads in the Bay

Torbay Weekly

These late Victorian images were kindly sent to Torquay Museum by Stephen Hobbs, honorary archivist at Hartland Abbey and originator of the Hartland Digital Archive.

A couple of them show the ironclads in the Bay returning from Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebrations at the Spithead.

Ironclads are steam-propelled warships protected by iron or steel armour plates, which were predominantly constructed from 1859 to the early 1890s.

They were developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells.

The Royal Navy was the second to adopt this type of warship.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the descriptions 'battleship' and 'armoured cruiser' came to replace the term 'ironclad'.

The diamond jubilee review, which took place on June 26, 1897, at Spithead was reported as one of the great historical naval spectacles.

It involved around 170 vessels, including 50 battleships drawn up in several seven-mile-long lines between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The Queen was represented by her son Bertie, Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII and the lead ship was HMS Renown.