Object of the Month for September: ‘Welsh Knife’ of the 9th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog Henry Yallop, Assistant Curator of European Edged Weapons tells the story of how a British peer partnered with a renowned forger of arms and armour to design a weapon for the 9th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.   Despite its name, the ‘Welsh knife’ was neither truly Welsh nor a knife. Born out of an attempt to create aRead more

Cutting Edge Fantasy | Damascus Steel & Valyrian Steel

Following the season finale of HBO’s epic ‘Game of Thrones’, Stefan Maeder, Director of Collections here at the Royal Armouries gives us a fascinating insight into the legendary traits of Valyrian steel and it’s real life parallel – Damascus Steel.  Damascus Steel, A Myth? All attempts at “myth-busting” are doomed to fail when it comes to fantasy or fiction. On the other hand it is important to be aware of the degree to which even nowadays myths shape our perception ofRead more

Our ‘Knight-in-Residence’ Andy Deane at the Tournament of King John III

The museum’s ‘Knight-in-Residence’ Andy Deane is no stranger to the clattering lances and thundering hooves of the Royal Armouries annual tournament, but how does he fare when competing away from home? The Royal Armouries recently had the honour of competing in the Tournament of King John III at Gniew Castle in Poland. Here, Andy tells us about his experience.  What is the Tournament of King John III and how did the Royal Armouries come to be involved? The Tournament startedRead more

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

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

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign for better armour on the Western Front: Part three

  Part Three: Private Companies Written by Philip Abbot  Archives and Records Manager for the Royal Armouries in Leeds. At least eighteen designs for armour using steel plate, mail and even textiles were manufactured commercially in Britain during the First Word War, and no less than forty patents for helmets and armour were taken out in Britain between 1914 and 1918. It comes as no surprise therefore to learn that Conan Doyle also received letters from a number of private companiesRead more