T h e S t o n e S h o p
HMS Shah -Victoria Park, Portsmouth
The HMS Shah was only in service for three years, as the flagship of the British Pacific Station under Admiral de Horsey. She fought in action, at the Battle of Pacocha, in company with the corvette HMS Amethyst on 29 May 1877 with the Peruvian armoured turret ship Huáscar which had been taken over by rebels opposed to the Peruvian Government and, it was feared, could be used to attack British shipping.
The armoured Huáscar proved virtually impenetrable to the British guns, but the two unarmoured British ships the Shah and the Amethyst had to keep clear of the Huáscar’s turret guns. In the course of the action the Shah fired the first torpedo to be used in anger, although it missed – being outrun by Huáscar.
During her time as flagship she also visited Pitcairn Island. On her voyage home she was diverted to South Africa to assist in the Anglo-Zulu War.
In December 1904 the ship was converted to a coal storage hulk and renamed C.470. The hulk was sold on 19 September 1919, and subsequently wrecked in 1926 at Bermuda.
According to some sources the ship was eventually sold to a Danish salvage company (Petersen & Albeck, Copenhagen) in 1934 and subsequently towed to Copenhagen, where the ship was dismantled. Parts of the Teak wood interior was later used as floor planks at the Royal Castle in Graasten in 1936.
Her masts survive. Being iron; they were deemed to be a lighter, more durable, replacement for HMS Victory's masts in her preserved state, in the early 20th century.
The memorial was constructed using white marble on a plinth of blue pennant stone.
The original inscription was made using flush lead letters, however over the years, the flush lead had degraded to such a degree that it was virtually illegible.
The Stone Shop was commissioned to renovate the monument by Portsmouth City Council in 2012.
We decided that the marble plinth was too badly eroded to make re-lettering using flush lead practical. Instead, we suggested that the original inscription was left in-situ, but would be covered over by polished black granite plaques and engraved inscription, which duplicated the inscription beneath. This would preserve the original inscription from further erosion, and would make the inscription readable for many years to come.