March 30, 2011Walking through the lobby of the Murray Premises is like stepping back in time. Take for example, the ships’ wheel in the lobby. It’s nothing to have a someone stop by and just stand in front of it, take a hold of the handles and spin it. I think all of us can imagine where she’s been but did you know HMS Calypso whose name was changed to the HMS Briton in 1916, was a corvette (redesignated as a third-class cruiser from 1888) of the Royal Navy and the name ship of her class. Built for distant cruising in the heyday of the British Empire, she served as a warship and training vessel until 1922, when she was sold.
Originally classified as a screw corvette Calypso was one of the Royal Navy’s last sailing corvettes. She supplemented her extensive sail rig with powerful engines. Among the first of the smaller cruisers to be given all-metal hulls, she nevertheless was cased with timber and coppered below the water line, as were wooden ships.
Calypso had a quiet career, consisting mainly of training cruises in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1902 she was sent to the colony of Newfoundland, where she served as a training vessel for the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve before and during the First World War. In 1922 she was declared surplus and sold, then used as a storage hulk. Her hull still exists, awash in a coastal bay off Newfoundland.