1907 pattern bayonet

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

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

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

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

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

Armours of childhood

There has been much academic debate as to the nature of childhood and children’s experiences throughout the ages. As few children set down accounts of their lives and innermost thoughts, we often rely on their surviving possessions to build a picture of the worlds they inhabited. Today we share just a few of the artefacts in our collection designed for use and wear by children.  Armours for boys fall into three categories: for war (called field armours), for foot combats (in theRead more