5th November 1851: Tower of London under fire.

Remember, remember! The fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason Why the Gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot! English Folk Verse (c.1870) We uncover some of the interesting histories surrounding Bonfire night with Bridget Clifford, Keeper of Tower History at the Tower of London. The Times, Friday 7 November 1851 “THAMES – A great number of persons, among whom were several women, were brought before Mr. INGHAM, charged with discharging fireworks in the publicRead more

Object of the Month for November: Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund Sword of James Edward Bowen

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog, Edward Chapman, Archives and Records Assistant, uncovers a sword in the collection with an interesting history. Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund was established on 28 July 1803 by a group of merchants and insurance brokers and is one of the oldest surviving armed services charities in the world. Named after Lloyd’s Coffee House in London, the fund aimed to provide grantsRead more

10 Grizzly and Ghoulish Objects in Our Collection | Halloween Special

With Halloween only a few days away, we uncover some of the more ghoulish items in the Royal Armouries collection, including instruments of torture and punishment, relics of fearsome ancient folklore and macabre depictions of tales most horrid.  1. The Scavenger’s Daughter Invented as an instrument of torture in the reign of Henry VIII by Sir Leonard Skeffington, Lieutenant of the Tower of London, the Scavenger’s Daughter was a ‘chief English sort of torture next after the rack’. By swingingRead more

‘Remove the Head or Destroy the Brain’: A History of Zombie Slaying

Ahead of our ‘Science of Zombie Killing’ talk this October, we brush up on the many different ways to defend ourselves in the event of an outbreak of the living dead with Royal Armouries’ Curator of Firearms Jonathan Ferguson.  Is this the ideal zombie weapon? Well, not really… It wasn’t the intention of the late George Romero, a progenitor of modern zombie culture best known for his zombie apocalypse films, but a lot of us seem to enjoy the killing ofRead more

A Handy Guide to Vampires

As October rolls on and the nights draw in, ghosts, ghouls and the otherwise undead lurk around every corner. What better way to prepare for the spooky month ahead than with a crash course in vampires…just in case! Vampires have been a staple of popular culture for two centuries, from the publication of Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre’ in 1819 to Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic ‘Dracula’, to the ‘Twilight‘ and ‘I Am Legend‘ of modern day. The belief in real vampires is of course farRead more

Inspired by… Silk Scarf inspired by the Royal Armouries collection

Andie Hill is a designer of bespoke silk scarves. Originally a costumier from St Albans, Andie first became aware of the beautiful decoration, etching and engraving used in suits of armour when she created a puzzle based on Henry VIII’s silvered and engraved armour which is on display in the White Tower at the Tower of London. Fascinated by the elegance and intricacy of the craftsmanship used to decorate the armour, Andie says ‘I have always been inspired by historyRead more