Line-drawing of the Formidable
class; the London
s were identical in appearance.
The five ships of the London class were ordered in 1898 in response to increased naval construction for the Russian Navy. The design for the London class was prepared in 1898; it was a virtual repeat of the preceding Formidable class, though with significant revision to the forward armour protection scheme. Rather than a traditional transverse bulkhead for the forward end of the main belt armour, the belt was carried further forward and gradually tapered in thickness. Deck armour was also strengthened.
London was 431 feet 9 inches (131.60 m) long overall, with a beam of 75 ft (23 m) and a draft of 26 ft (7.9 m). She displaced 14,500 long tons (14,700 t) normally and up to 15,700 long tons (16,000 t) fully loaded. Her crew numbered 714 officers and ratings. The Formidable-class ships were powered by a pair of 3-cylinder triple-expansion engines that drove two screws, with steam provided by twenty Belleville boilers. The boilers were trunked into two funnels located amidships. The Formidable-class ships had a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) from 15,000 indicated horsepower (11,000 kW).
London had four 12-inch (305 mm) 40-calibre guns mounted in twin-gun turrets fore and aft; these guns were mounted in circular barbettes that allowed all-around loading or elevation. The ships also mounted twelve 6-inch (152 mm) 45-calibre guns mounted in casemates, in addition to sixteen 12-pounder guns and six 3-pounder guns. As was customary for battleships of the period, she was also equipped with four 18-inch (460 mm) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull. The tubes were placed on the broadside, abreast of the main battery barbettes.
London had an armoured belt that was 9 inches (229 mm) thick; the transverse bulkheads on the aft end of the belt was 9 to 12 in (229 to 305 mm) thick. Her main battery turrets sides were 8 to 10 in (203 to 254 mm) thick, atop 12 in (305 mm) barbettes, and the casemate battery was protected with 6 in of Krupp steel. Her conning tower had 14 in (356 mm) thick sides as well. She was fitted with two armoured decks, 1 and 2.5 in (25 and 64 mm) thick, respectively.