Collections Up Close April

As the well-known Bond theme goes ‘Diamonds Are Forever’. Diamonds have a long history as treasured gemstones and are April’s birthstone. Diamonds are used as engraving tools as they have the highest resistance to scratching of any material known. Some of the Royal Armouries’ more ornate collection items are decorated with diamonds. Most notably are two guns on display in the Treasures of the Royal Armouries in the White Tower’s 1st floor gallery at the Tower of London. The first is aRead more

Towton on Twitter

On 29 March 1461 the largest and bloodiest battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought about 12 miles southwest of York, between the villages of Towton and Saxton. According to the chroniclers more than 50,000 soldiers from the Houses of York & Lancaster fought in blizzard conditions on Palm Sunday 550 years ago. On Saturday 9 April join us on Twitter from our Towton History In Your Hands Seminar to learn more about the arms and armour of theRead more

The Washing of the Lions

Found amongst the Royal Armouries archives at The Tower of London this fragile scrap of paper is a ticket for perhaps one of the most unusual April Fool’s Day stunts in British history – The Annual Ceremony of Washing the Lions. The printed and wax sealed ticket admits Victorian visitors to the Tower via the White Gate, with strict instructions not give gratuities to any of the wardens on duty. All in all, an entertaining spectacle appears to be promisedRead more

Power House – Object Conservation 4

Object: Uniform Coat of the Duke of Wellington c.1835 (xvi.8) Blogger: Suzanne Dalewicz-Kitto, Conservation Manager This blue cloth uniform with white lining and scarlet facing was worn by the Duke of Wellington when he was Constable of the Tower of London. It has gilt buttons bearing a miniature of the White Tower in silver, and epaulettes made of gold and silver thread.  The coat is in reasonable condition with only a few small holes and surface grazing of the cloth, probablyRead more

Power House – Object Conservation 3

Object: Flintlock Land Service Musket (1715) XII.80 Blogger: Nyssa Mildwaters, Conservation This musket is one of several experimental firearms which are to be included in the Power House exhibition. The musket was designed and made by the gunmaker Richard Wolldridge who worked at the Tower from about 1704 until 1749. Although this particular pattern or design was not issued to the military its does show the general form which British military firearms were beginning to take in the early 18th century.Read more

Power House – Object Conservation 2

Object: Brass belt plate (mid 19th century) I.979 ii Blogger: Nyssa Mildwaters, Conservation It’s always nice to work on an object which can be related back to a particular person in history. This belt plate is one of a pair of objects relating to the Board of Ordnance’s only identified rat-catcher, Richard Dean. The plate is the only surviving portion of Dean’s uniform and he can be seen wearing it in a portrait which is to be displayed alongside the plate.Read more