HMS Mercury (1878)
HMS Mercury was an Iris class
Iris class cruiser
The Iris class comprised two ships, and , which served with the Royal Navy. They were the Royal Navy's first all steel ships.They were designed as dispatch vessels by William White under the direction of Nathaniel Barnaby but were later re-created as Second Class Cruisers...

 second class cruiser of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. The two ships of the class were the first all steel ships in the Royal Navy. She was distinguished from the Iris by her straight bow, which gave her a slightly shorter length of 315 feet. The ship carried a complement of 275 officers and men.

Mercury was laid down at Pembroke Dockyard on 16 March 1876, launched on 17 April 1878 and completed on 18 September 1879. Originally equipped with a light barque
A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts.- History of the term :The word barque appears to have come from the Greek word baris, a term for an Egyptian boat. This entered Latin as barca, which gave rise to the Italian barca, Spanish barco, and the French barge and...

rig, her sails were soon removed and the class became the first "mastless cruisers". She had an "unprecedented amount of space taken up with machinery", but was thought of so highly that she was rearmed three times during her service.

Mercury served with the Portsmouth Reserve from 1879 to 1890, in China from 1890 to 1895 and with the Portsmouth Reserve again from 1895 to 1903. She served as a Navigation School Ship for Navigating Officers from 1903 to 1905 and a Submarine Depot Ship from 1906 to 1913. Hulked at Chatham in 1914 for service at Rosyth and renamed Columbine, she was eventually sold for scrap in 1919.


  • Morris, Douglas, (1987), Cruisers of the Royal and Commonwealth Navies Maritime Books. ISBN 0 907771 35 1.

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.