Apollo Class Cruiser | 1890 -1922
Built in Barrow and launched in 1890. A second class Apollo protected cruiser of 3,400 tons. Carried an armament of two 6" guns, four torpedo tubes and sixteen other guns. She saw service in the Mediterranean and during World War I. Converted to a mine-layer in 1910 carrying up to 150 mines, but at the cost of reduced guns.
They were a modified version of the earlier Medea class. They carried a mixed armament entirely made up of quick firing guns, but these guns were badly arranged, producing ships with a reasonable broadside but limited firepower fore and aft. They were not very seaworthy, and were followed by a number of classes of larger, more seaworthy ships. At the start of the First World War a number of them saw limited active service, before spending most of the war as depot ships. A number of them came back into prominence in 1918 when they were used as block ships during the attempts to close the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend.
The Apollo class cruisers were amongst the oldest ships still in service with the Royal Navy at the start of the First World War. They were part of one of the biggest classes of cruisers ever built, twenty one strong and build under the 1889 Naval Defence Act, although by 1914 only twelve were still in service. Naiad became a depot ship on the Tyne before eventually being sold in 1922.