H.M.S. Surprise, listed as a steel despatch vessel although technically a third class cruiser, was built by Palmers at Jarrow, the nameship of a class of two similar ships ordered in 1883. Laid down in February 1884 and launched on 17th January 1885, Surprise was completed in July 1886 and entered service immediately. Displacing 1,650 tons and measuring 275 feet in length with a 32½ foot beam, she mounted eight guns and could make 17 knots at full steam. Ideally suited as fleet scouts as well as despatch carriers, Surprise and her sister lasted well into the new century, Surprise herself only being scrapped in 1919.