HMS Belfast is a light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy. She is now permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London and is operated by the Imperial War Museum.
Belfast, the first ship in the Royal Navy to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick's Day 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany.
In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast's expected scrapping and to preserve her as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, and the Ministry of Defence was established and then reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971, the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The efforts of the Trust were successful, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971, Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives over a quarter of a million visitors per year.
- Her hair is white.
- She wears a maid uniform.