When she was launched in 1863 at the Royal Dockyard,
Chatham, the Ironclad Achilles was described as the
largest ship in the world.
HMS Achilles 1863
"This is, or soon will be, the Achilles, iron armour-plated
ship. Twelve hundred men are working at her now; twelve
hundred men working on stages over her sides, over her
bows, over her stern, under her keel, between her decks,
down in her hold, within her and without, crawling and
creeping into the finest curves of her lines wherever it is
possible for men to twist. Twelve hundred hammerers,
measurers, caulkers, armourers, forgers, smiths,
shipwrights, twelve hundred dingers, clashers, dongers,
rattlers, clonkers, bangers, bangers, bangers!"
Charles Dickens, The Uncommercial Traveller, 1863