HC Deb 28 August 1893 vol 16 cc1209-10
MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Government intend proceeding with the construction of two ironclads larger than those built under the Naval Defence Act; whether, since the sinking of the Victoria,his attention has been called to the criticisms of experts at home and abroad questioning the expediency of building additional ships of this monster class; whether, before committing the nation to the enormous expenditure involved in the construction of such large vessels, ho will cause an inquiry to be made into the capability of their lower structure to prevent capsising in the event of one or more compartments being filled with water; and whether he is aware that the lower structure of these ships with existing top-hamper, when pierced, may, as in the case of the Victoria, under steam disturb the centre of gravity and thus cause them to turn turtle?


The description presented to Parliament of the two new battleships shows an increase of 10 feet in length and 750 tons in displacement over the Royal Sovereign class. The breadth and moan draught are the same. The causes of the increase are described in that Paper. The Admiralty have not failed to consider the criticisms to which the second paragraph of the question refers, but are clearly of opinion that it is necessary to build these two ships of the dimensions already settled in view of the strength of those which, in ease of war, they might have to meet. The matters mentioned in Paragraph 3 are necessarily fully dealt with in working out all designs of ships of war. The Admiralty see no reason for any special action in this case. The last paragraph raises questions of opinion on which the Admiralty, if they understand the views stated, are not disposed to concur with my hon. Friend.