The oldest known European fencing manual

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog, Stuart Ivinson, Librarian at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, explores the history of the treasured manuscript I.33, ahead of the publication of Jeffrey Forgeng’s latest transcription. A jewel of the collection One of the oldest and most enigmatic treasures in the Royal Armouries archives is the Royal Armouries I.33 manuscript, a surviving example of a Fechtbuch, or Fight Book. This particular manualRead more

The West country superwoman who created the jujutsuffragettes

Words by Bridget Clifford, Keeper of the Tower Armouries. “Physical force seems the only thing in which women have not demonstrated their equality to men, and while we are waiting for the evolution which is slowly taking place and bringing about that equality, we might just as well take time by the forelock and use science, otherwise ju-jitsu.” So wrote Mrs Edith Garrud, west country superwoman who introduced Far Eastern martial arts to the W.S.P.U. Who was Edith Garrud? 1910 was theRead more

Horsing around in the conservation lab

Words by Ellie Rowley-Conwy, Conservator, Royal Armouries.  Objects brought to us in Conservation can be chosen for treatment for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is because they are in a fragile state and interventive action is required for the long-term preservation of the piece, and sometimes it is so they can be better displayed and understood by the public. In fact both of these reasons are true for this next object that is currently being treated in the conservationRead more

The Tula sporting garniture

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog, Lisa Traynor, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum, explores the history of the elaborately decorated Tula Garniture.  A show of wealth Prior to the 15th century, weapons of the hunt were largely the same as those used in warfare. However, as the techniques of hunting became more specialised and the grandest weaponry more elaborate, the useRead more

Welcome to the conservation department at the Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries collection comprises approximately 75,000 objects, covering a complete range of arms, armour and related material, including guns, swords, armour, artillery, and polearms. The maintenance and preservation of these objects is a critical role within the museum. Dr Lauren McGhee, Conservator for the museum,  tells us a little more about some recent changes to the conservation laboratory in Leeds, and the important work carried out there. Preserving our collection The preservation of the collection is one of theRead more

A Kalashnikov from Vietnam

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog, Jonathan Ferguson, Interim Keeper of Firearms & Artillery, uncovers an interesting history behind this AK-47.  The Avtomat Kalashnikova or AK (strictly speaking, ‘AK-47’ was just a prototype) and its variants are found today in every active conflict zone. It is arguably the most important firearm in the world, taking the place of the Mauser bolt-action rifle. It is certainly theRead more