|Sa 16 March 1861||Admiralty orders have been received at Chatham dockyard for a squadron of five steam frigates and other vessels of war to be built at that establishment, in addition to the several line-of-battle and other screw steamers which are now in progress. The following are the names, number of guns, and horse-power of the new vessels: -The Boadicea, 51, 600-horse power ; the Pactolus, 22, 200-horse power ; the Diligence, 17, 200-horse power ; the Salamis, 4, 250-horse power; and the Albatross, 4, 200-horse power . The above ships of war will be commenced immediately the vessels now on the stocks, several of which are in a very forward state, are completed. The ships building at Chatham are the Bulwark, 91 ; the Royal Oak, 91; the Belvidera, 51 ; the Rattlesnake, 21; the Menai, 21 ; the Reindeer, 17; and the Myrmidon, 4.|
The Lords of the Admiralty have decided on naming the large iron mail-clad steamer about to be commenced at Chatham dockyard the Achilles. The new vessel will be an improvement on those of the same description recently built, and her dimensions will be somewhat larger. Her engines will be nominally of 1,250 horse-power, but they will be capable of being worked up to considerably over 2,000 horse-power. She will be pierced for 40 guns, all of which will be the long-range Armstrong guns.
|Th 22 August 1861||Yesterday the Commissioners of the Admiralty commenced their annual inspection of the dockyard at Chatham. They visited, in the first instance, the lead mills, and afterwards the testing-houses, where the anchors and cables manufactured at this and other yards are tested by powerful hydraulic engines before being delivered to the various vessels of war. Their Lordships, having directed a few minor alterations to be carried out at the testing-house, proceeded to the Anchor-wharf, where the anchors, buoys, and other stores are deposited. Since their last visit several improvements have been carried out at this part of the dockyard, and others are in contemplation. They spent a short time in examining one of the portable steam cranes, several of which have been recently supplied to the yard by Messrs. Taylor, of the Britannia Ironworks, the saving of manual labour by the use of these machines being very great. Leaving the wharf, their Lordships proceeded to inspect the various docks, and also the ships now on the stocks. Passing No. 1 slip, on Which the Salamis has only been within the last few days commenced, the members of the Board inspected the Reindeer, 16, under the second shed. Their Lordships next visited No. 1 dock, which is in course of being extended seaward, and deepened and enlarged, by Messrs. Foord and Sons, the contractors. Already a considerable depth has been gained, by the harbour at that spot having been deepened and the entrance to the dock cleared of the mud, which had for years been accumulating to such an extent that only the smallest vessels could be docked in it. The alterations effected, however, will now admit of large line-of-battle ships being accommodated in it. At present this dock is empty. Advantage has been taken of that circumstance, and the whole is now being floored over, in order that the space thus gained may be used for storing the models and portions of the ironwork required in constructing the Achilles, 50, building in the next dock. The new factory and workshops recently erected between the first and second docks were next visited, the factory being filled with machinery, forges, and workmen employed in preparing the beams, slabs, and plates for the new iron frigate. The Orpheus, 21, screw corvette, in No. 3 dock, being rigged and fitted for the first division of the Steam Reserve, was next inspected, the Duke of Somerset going on board and inquiring into the work in progress. Passing the President, 51, in the next dock, their Lordships briefly inspected the Menai, 22 , the Belvidera, 51 , the Bulwark, 91 , and the Myrmidon, 4. screw steamers, all of which are in various stages of progress, and then visited the Royal Oak, 51, building under the last shed. This vessel, although only a short time since commenced, has made considerable progress, and every effort is being made to have her completed by an early date. She is the first of the large wooden frigates which the Admiralty have decided on having covered with armour plates, and more than usual interest is therefore felt in her progress. The massive iron plates, each weighing nearly five tons, and of a regular thickness of four and a-half inches, are lying by the side of the vessel in readiness to be placed on the sides immediately the timbers are fit to receive them. The members of the Board went over this fine frigate, which, although only in frame, appears to be of the most gigantic size and of enormous strength. After completing the inspection of the ships building and in dock, their Lordships visited the eastern end of the yard, and inspected the site on which it is proposed to construct the additional docks, basins, and locks for the extension of Chatham Dockyard, in conformity with the recommendation of the Parliamentary committee, the estimated cost of which is upwards of 1,000,000l. sterling. Close to this part of the yard the iron gunboats, built at the close of the Russian war, are laid up under cover, but these were not inspected by their Lordships. Their Lordships then landed at the New-stairs, and proceeded to Melville Naval hospital, where they were received by Surgeon J. Moody, the principal medical officer, and the staff of the establishment. The excellent arrangements of the interior of this hospital were warmly commended The buildings are of the largest kind, and a greater space is afforded the inmates than in any other similar establishment. At present there are 170 patients in the hospital, but accommodation is provided for nearly 300. After leaving the hospital the Duke of Somerset and their lordships again took boot, and were rowed over to St. Mary's Island, to inspect the works in progress there for enlarging the dockyard establishments in that direction. A considerable tract of land has already been reclaimed from the river and embanked, chiefly by means of convict labour, several hundred prisoners being daily employed on the operations. Their Lordships were conducted over the place by Mr. Rivers, clerk of the works, and Mr. Macdonnell, C.E., under whose superintendence the improvement are being carried out. The works are of great magnitude, and will occupy several years before they are completed. The entire sum required for this part of the improvement of Chatham Dockyard, exclusive of the construction of the new docks, &c., is nearly 200,000l. The members of the Board will resume their inspection of the naval establishment at Chatham this morning, after which they will proceed to visit Sheerness.|