Town cruisers were designed for long-range trade protection as well as operations with battle fleets. Between 1910 and 1916 twenty British cruisers named after towns or cities were built.
The first five town cruisers built carried two 6-inch and ten 4-inch guns, but later the secondary armament was replaced by more main guns. By 1914 town cruisers had a speed of 28 knots.
During the First World War only two town cruisers, Falmouth and Nottingham, were lost. Both of these ships were sunk by torpedoes in 1916.