Object of the Month for January: A Kalashnikov Rifle from the Battlefields of 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

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. …Then here’s to the British bay’nit Made of Sheffield steel, And here’s to the men who bore it – Stalwart men and leal… Chorus of ‘The Ballad of the Bayonet’ from “A Yeoman’s Letters,” PT Ross, 1901 Read the full poemRead 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

10 Grizzly and Ghoulish Objects in Our Collection | Halloween Special

With Halloween only a few days away, we uncover some of the more ghoulish items in the Royal Armouries collection, including instruments of torture and punishment, relics of fearsome ancient folklore and macabre depictions of tales most horrid.  1. The Scavenger’s Daughter Invented as an instrument of torture in the reign of Henry VIII by Sir Leonard Skeffington, Lieutenant of the Tower of London, the Scavenger’s Daughter was a ‘chief English sort of torture next after the rack’. By swingingRead more

Together for Peace | Turning Guns into Art

The 21st of September marks the United Nations International Day of Peace. This year’s theme, ‘Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All’ celebrates global unity, support and tolerance. Each year, this day offers an opportunity for us to reflect on and embrace our common humanity. The continuing mobilisation for ”peace, both within and among all nations and peoples” is an aspiration reflected in our  ‘Farewell to Arms?’ exhibition, which explores the positive changes that have been – and are stillRead more