It is rare to find a Royal Naval Dockyard model of this size and quality. Displaying its four stacks, the model is as much a spectacle as the original gigantic vessel. Highly detailed and very impressive in person. The model is in its original carved mahogany glazed case and stand, with ivorine builder's plates and bow/stern name plates on green plush display board.
The model has been cleaned and restored to museum quality. The case has two replacement glass panels and has also undergone restoration.
This is the companion to a model in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK.
History of the Vessel:
Despite the common practice of using certain ships' names repeatedly over the centuries, only three vessels have carried the name LEVIATHAN during the long history of the Royal Navy; the first was a '74' of 1790 and the last a modest aircraft carrier of 1945 which was never actually completed for sea. Only the second vessel in this trio remotely lived up to the derivation of her name LEVIATHAN - meaning gigantic, impressive, formidable or 'anything of huge size' - and she was the splendid four-funneled armored cruiser which joined the fleet at the dawn of the twentieth century.
One of the four 'Drake' class cruisers approved in the 1898 Program, the order for LEVIATHAN went to John Brown's yards at Clydebank where she was laid down on 30th November 1899. Launched on 3rd July 1901 and completed on 16th June 1903, her design was an enlarged version of the 'Cressy' class of 1897 although this increased size was mostly utilized to accommodate the significantly more powerful machinery needed to provide their top speed of 23 knots. Displacing 14,150 tons (fully loaded), the 'Drakes' measured 533 feet in length (overall) with a 71-foot beam and were impressively armored up to a maximum of 6ins. on the most vulnerable areas of their hulls. Coal-fired from 43 Belleville boilers, their twin-shaft 4-cylinder triple-expansion engines could generate 31,500ihp. When travelling at full steam, LEVIATHAN and her sisters provided a memorable spectacle. Armed with 2-9.2 inch guns, 16-6 inch, 14-12 pounders and 3-3 pounders, they also sported 2-18 inch submerged torpedo tubes and, with their relatively uncluttered decks, were destined for employment as cruiser squadron flagships as befitted their size and prestige. Crucially, the 'Drakes' were among the first British warships to incorporate wood that had been treated to make it less flammable and also to have their coal bunkers subdivided to minimize the effects of a torpedo rather than simply shellfire. Amongst the fastest ships in the world when completed, Lord Goschen, the First Lord of the Admiralty, hailed the new quartet as "mighty cruisers" and, once in service, all four frequently exceeded their trial speed of 30 knots and proved both seaworthy vessels as well as "exceptional steamers". All in all a triumph of design and construction, it was therefore a pity that, by the time the Great War began in 1914, more modern cruisers had already outclassed them.
LEVIATHAN was commissioned immediately after completion and sent to join the Cruiser Squadron in the English Channel for two years (1903-04). Transferred to the 3rd Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean (1905-06), she came home for a refit at Chatham during 1907 after which she remained in Home Waters and joined the 5th Cruiser Squadron in 1908. The next year (1909) she was sent to join the 4th Cruiser Squadron in North American Waters where she remained until 1912. After a brief tenure as flagship to the Training Squadron in 1912, she was then transferred to the 6th Cruiser Squadron (3rd Fleet) from 1913 where she stayed until that squadron was broken up in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of War in August 1914 and its vessels attached to the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow.
LEVIATHAN's earliest wartime employment involved northerly patrols off the Shetland and Faroe Isles, on scouting and blockading duties, in which she showed her mettle to the extent that she was soon made flagship to the newly-constituted 1st Cruiser Squadron (Rear-Admiral Sir Gordon Moore) on 2nd December. Despite the lack of fleet activity, the winter of 1914-15 was extremely busy for the cruiser squadrons which found themselves at sea for long periods in appalling weather protecting inbound shipping and enforcing the blockade against Germany. In March 1915, after almost eight months of unremitting patrol work in adverse conditions, LEVIATHAN was ordered to the West Indies as flagship to Vice-Admiral Patey and, in the latter part of the War, was employed on North Atlantic convoy escort duties. Surviving hostilities, this elegant four-funneled relic of the Edwardian Royal Navy was finally sold out of the service in 1920 and scrapped at Blyth.
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