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

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

Power House – Object Conservation

Prior to installation of a new exhibition the objects which will appear on display have to be carefully cared for by the Conservation Team. Nyssa Mildwaters, one of the Royal Armouries Conservators, will be blogging about several interesting items which will soon be on display at the Tower of London. One of the more unusual looking objects being conserved for the Power House exhibition is a three stemmed candlestick.  The main body of the candlestick is made from metal weaponRead more