Some of the Most Elaborately Decorated Objects in the Royal Armouries Collection

This summer, the Royal Armouries will be playing host to a number of exciting activities part-inspired by our latest book release titled ‘Dangerous Arts’. Embellished with stunning images of the objects which once adorned the great palaces, tournament fields and parade grounds of the world, the book combines themes of art, conflict, death and beauty to highlight pieces in our collection chosen specifically for their fine craftsmanship and careful design. To help tell the stories behind some of the armouriesRead 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

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

Shooting for Accuracy: Historicity and Video Gaming

Following their recent appearance at the Historia Ludens conference on ‘History and Gaming’, held at The University of Huddersfield, Royal Armouries curators Jonathan Ferguson and Lisa Traynor reveal their experience of working with the team from video game developers – Rebellion – on the latest edition of their successful Second World War game series, Sniper Elite 4. Sniper Elite 4 contains a high level of pseudo-realism, featuring period-correct weapons and attempts to display marksmanship principles such as breathing techniques, range estimation, andRead more

Behind the scenes at the Leeds museum

Museum Maintenance Week 16 – 22 January Throughout Maintenance Week, our Museum Maintainers will be doing what they normally do behind closed doors in front of our visitors at the Leeds museum. Looking after the national collection of arms and armour is a big job and an even bigger responsibility. Many of our objects are extremely important in the history of arms and armour, and though they might not look it, many of them are quite fragile too. We haveRead more

In Memoriam: Thomas Cross

In Memoriam In the past, it was common for institutions such as schools, railway companies, post offices and even private businesses to create their own war memorials. They remembered those staff who had fallen in the service of their country. This year, as part of the Royal Armouries commemoration of the Armistice, we decided to research the history of our own families. We wanted to find out how the lives of our grand-parents and great grand-parents were shaped by theRead more