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 Installation: Week One

Blogger: Karen Whitting, Creative Programmes Construction of the Power House exhibition at the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London began last week. Preparing the gallery for the installation has involved ripping out the old displays, which in an old building can be problematic if unanticipated issues are found. Often all the pre-planning and preparation done prior to installation can be overturned in an instant – with new solutions and decisions needed immediately. However, with the right project team theseRead more

The Naming of the Dragon

A fabulous “bejewelled” dragon – standing 3m high and specially commissioned by the Royal Armouries and Historic Royal Palaces – will create a guaranteed “wow factor” as the centrepiece of the Power House exhibition at the Tower of London. A modern trophy, the dragon is made up of components representing each of the great institutions of state associated with the Tower. The design is still being finalised but the majestic beast is likely to include: Ordnance Office – armour, swords,Read more

Collections Up Close March

In March 44BC Julius Caesar was warned to ‘Beware the ides of March’. Caesar dismissed the warning that harm would come to him, only to be stabbed to death later that day by Senators in the Roman Senate. The ‘ides of March’ refers to March 15th in the Roman calendar, and is probably linked to the full moon as the ides fall on either the 13th or 15th day of each month. The prediction and Caesar’s fate were later dramatisedRead more

Power House Work Begins

Work has begun at the Tower of London on the installation of the new exhibition – Power House. The exhibitions ‘Prisoners and Punishment’ and ‘Hands on History’ which have been running on the top floor of the White Tower, closed on 28 February. Over four days Royal Armouries staff carefully removed collection objects to safe storage leaving an empty shell of cases and structures. The core design team is continuing to work on the interpretation panels, with graphic amendments andRead more