When Christmas was Cancelled | The Must-See Objects in the Royal Armouries’ Civil War Collection

From swords to muskets, buff coats to pistols: in preparation for the museum’s ‘Christmas is Cancelled’ event we take a look at some of the most significant objects from the British Civil Wars in the Royal Armouries collection and unearth why festivities were outlawed between 1647-1660. Christmas is Cancelled Some of us grumble every year about the increasing commercialisation of Christmas, but would you seriously suggest closing the shops altogether? 360 years ago, in the middle of the British CivilRead more

Object of the Month for December: The ‘Writhen Hilt’ Sword

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this blog post, Assistant Curator Scot Hurst traces the fascinating history of the Writhen Hilt sword, from the hands of two of the world’s most prodigious collectors of art and antiques to the silver screen.  It would be impossible to even begin writing about this hand-and-a-half sword without addressing the obvious talking point. Our eye is instantly drawn to the beautiful, almostRead more

The Development of the 1907 Pattern Bayonet for the Short, Magazine Lee Enfield Rifle

The evolution of the 1907 Pattern bayonet was not a single-step event and some wonderful rarities appeared in the process. In this blog post, Peter Smithurst, Curator Emeritus at the Royal Armouries traces the development of the 1907 Pattern bayonet. A need for reach By the early years of the 20th century, experience had shown that the days of long rifles were effectively over and something shorter and “handier” than the “Long Lee” was needed. The result was the Rifle, Short,Read more

Spence – The Art of War

Royal Armouries presents an exhibition of First World War paintings on loan from Preston Park Museum and Grounds at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, 11 November 2017 – 29 April 2018. Entry to the museum and exhibition is free. The exhibition focuses on a unique set of watercolours painted by Colonel G.O. Spence, Commander of the 5th Durham Light Infantry, during the First World War. Spence made a great impact as an industrialist, an army officer and mayor. He was also a passionate artist andRead more

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