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H.M.S Terror: The Floating Arsenal

1860 was the year when ‘Port Mulgrave’ was launched. This vessel was the first to be launched from the Howdon yard, which had been acquired by Palmers the year before, in 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. It also shows Simon Temple Junior’s Yard on the north side of the Tyne which later became Palmer Shipbuilders yard.

layout of some early wooden shipbuilding yards
Palmer And Other Shipyards Along The Banks Of The Tyne

The outbreak of the Crimean War (1853-1856) offered the company a chance to enter the market by supplying the Admiralty with armor-plated battleships. One notable order was for the HMS Terror, a specialized battleship that could be better described as a floating arsenal. It was commissioned to battle the Russians and take out the base at Kronstadt in the Baltic. This ship helped establish Palmer’s reputation with the Admiralty. However, HMS Terror never saw battle as the war had nearly ended by the time she could be delivered. Nevertheless, Palmer’s company’s reputation was solidified, leading to further orders from the Admiralty.

In 1862, HMS Defence was completed. Between 1872 and 1885, the 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. In total, Palmer’s shipyard built 100 warships for the Royal Navy.

The company continued to build and deliver various types of ships, including cruisers, gunboats, merchant vessels, tramp steamers, oil tankers, sailing ships, and steam colliers. It is worth noting that Sir Charles Mark Palmer, in addition to running a reputable shipyard and steel industry, established Jarrow’s first accident and emergency hospital.

HMS Terror

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  • Information is taken from Opensource Archives, and elderly family members and relatives. 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.