I have visited and explored the ship on a couple of occasions in the past and she is well worth a visit.
The brainchild of Admiral Baldwin Walker she was designed by Isaac Watts who was the Royal Navy's chief constructor, the idea was to build a ship that was more heavily armoured, faster and better armed than anything then afloat.
Built at a cost of £390,000 at the Thames Ironworks in Blackwall, London her keel was laid in May 1859, she was launched on 28 December 1860 before being ready for her first commission on 1 August 1860.
Warrior boasted steam powered engines and 48,400 square feet of sale and was equipped with a propeller that could be disengaged and lifted out of the water to stop it dragging when Warrior was under sail power. She was also fitted with telescopic funnels that could be lowered when required to allow the sails to batter catch the wind.
She is 127m long with a 18m beam and 8m draught and her hull consists of 16mm planking to which was fastened 460mm of teak which was then covered with 110mm of wrought iron plate.
She could reach speeds of 13 Knots under sail and 14.5 knots under steam power.
Armament consisted of 26 muzzle loading 68 pounder guns and 10 breach loading 110 pounder guns
She had a complement of 705 officers and men comprising 42 Officers, 3 Warrant Officers, 455 Seamen and boys, 33 Royal Marine Officers, 6 Royal Marine NCO's, 118 Royal Marie Artillerymen, 2 Chief Engineers, 10 Engineers and 66 Stokers and Trimmers.
Charles Dickens described her as 'A black vicious ugly customer as ever I saw, whale like in size and with a terrible row of incisor teeth as ever closed on a French Frigate'.
Although she never fired a shot in anger she spent some time leading the Channel Squadron patrolling home waters, with however the rapid development in warship and engine design at the time she was by 1871 overtaken by HMS Devastation which was a mast less battleship. Following a three and a half year refit she started naval and coastguard duties and on 14 May 1883 entered Portsmouth for the last time under her own power having sailed some 90,000 miles during her career at sea.
In 1902 she became a mothership to Portsmouth's torpedo boats and in 1904 became part of HMS Vernon's torpedo training school.
In 1923 however she was paid off and offered for sale and in 1929 was towed to Milford Haven where she was used as a floating oil jetty.
In 1976 a plan was put together to restore her and she was towed to Hartlepool in 1979 where the work was carried out.
On 16 June 1987 she returned to Portsmouth.