The TS Indefatigable was founded in 1864 by one John Clint, who set up a committee to raise funds to offer naval training to poor and destitute boys, and the sons and orphans of sailors. Financial assistance was rendered by James Bibby, of Bibby Line Shipping, whose family helped support the `Inde` for many years to follow. At that time the trainees actually lived on the ship, which was moored off Rock Ferry, on the Birkenhead side of the Mersey. The ship was an ex Royal Navy wooden frigate, and the gun deck was converted to accommodate 200 boys in hammocks.
The original ship lasted through to 1914, when it was scrapped and replaced by a masted cruiser named H.M.S Phaeton, subsequently renamed Indefatigable.