The Line of Kings: 1785-1869

Having existed in one form or another for over 400 years, the Line of Kings is one of the world’s oldest exhibitions. Having been re-arranged countless times over the centuries at the whims of monarchs and curators, the latest display allows visitors to enjoy some of our most spectacular items. In this series of blog posts, we’ll bring you the story of how the Line of Kings has transformed from 1547 right through to the present day. The figure ofRead more

What is the Difference Between a Penknife and a Pocket Knife?

In today’s blog, Peter Smithurst, Curator Emeritus of Historical Firearms at the Royal Armouries explains the difference between a penknife and a pocket knife. I was asked recently about terminology in cutlery, especially pen and pocket knives. Firstly, when is a penknife a pocket knife? Traditionally a penknife was used of course for cutting a quill pen. Its blade was fairly small and had a razor-edge. To enable it to hold an edge, the blade was also very hard whichRead more

Swords and Guns in Popular Culture

In the world of arms and armour, the objects featured in contemporary popular culture are often underrepresented. Much of the public perception of arms and armour is coloured by the cultural mainstream, yet many museums have been slow to appreciate and preserve the wonderful things made for films, games and other media. For many, popular culture is the primary means of exposure to such objects and for museums, this area is key to developing a successful future events programme. PrecedentsRead more

Object of the Month for August: Britain’s Greatest Soldier

In this monthly blog series, our collections team will write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. This month Bridget Clifford, Keeper of the Tower Armouries, examines the very different histories of two Lord Kitchener documents in the Royal Armouries’ collection, which form part of a new display at the Tower of London.  One hundred years after the original Kitchener memorial display was mounted in the White Tower at Tower of London, a new one ‘Britain’s GreatestRead more

The Line of Kings: 1685-1785

Having existed in one form or another for over 400 years, the Line of Kings is one of the world’s oldest exhibitions. Having been re-arranged countless times over the centuries at the whims of monarchs and curators, the latest display allows visitors to enjoy some of our most spectacular items. In this series of blog posts, we’ll bring you the story of how the Line of Kings has transformed from 1547 right through to the present day. James II cameRead more

How was artillery developed in World War One?

By Adrian Parry, University of Portsmouth. The British army fired 273,000 shells in the first 36 months of the Second Boer War. Yet in the four years of World War One, it fired over 170 million shells. This amounted to over five million tons of ordnance. In September 1915, British guns fired 535,000 artillery rounds in four days at the Battle of Loos; 1,732,873 rounds in June 1916 in the eight days prior to the attack on the Somme; 3,258,000 roundsRead more