HMS Terror: The Floating Arsenal

Published by Shahdaroba Wednesday 15th February 2012

1860 was the year ‘Port Mulgrave’ was launched. This was to be the first vessel, off the assembly lines so to speak, launched from the Howdon yard, which had been acquired by Palmers the year before, (1859) on the north bank of the Tyne. This yard went on to build many more ships. The picture shows the layout of some early wooden shipbuilding yards on the River Tyne.

Palmer And Other Shipyards Along The Banks Of The Tyne

The outbreak of the Crimean War (1853-1856) offered the company a chance to get into the market by supplying the Admiralty with armor-plated battleships. One such order was for the HMS Terror, a specialized battleship that would be better described as a floating arsenal. Commissioned to do battle with the Russians to take out the base at Kronstadt in the Baltic. This ship would put Palmer in good stead with the Admiralty. HMS Terror never did see battle the war had all but ended before she could be delivered. However, with his company’s reputation in place, Palmer went on to receive other orders from the Admiralty.

In 1862 the HMS Defence was completed. Between 1872 and 1885 coastal defense ships HMS Cerberus and HMS Gorgon were completed, these were followed by two fast dispatch ships for the Navy, HMS Surprise, and HMS Alacrity, a total of 100 warships were built at the Palmer shipyard for the Royal Navy.

The company went on to build and deliver many more ships which ranged from cruisers to gunboats. Such as merchant vessels, tramp steamers, oil tankers, sailing ships, and steam colliers. For now, this is where it ends on this website.

HMS Terror

Footnote: Sir Charles Mark Palmer as well as running a well-respected Shipyard/Steel Industry gave Jarrow its first accident, and emergency hospital. He had been married three times his first marriage was to Jane Robson daughter of Ebenezer Robson who hailed out of Newcastle Upon Tyne she gave birth to four children two of the children died one in infancy, and the other in his late 40s. Charles Mark, and Charles respectfully. The two surviving sons were named George Robson, and Alfred Molyneux Palmer.

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  • if I come across more info on the company then I will update this short history of a mighty shipbuilding company, with the workforce to go with it.