The Lion Roars – From Big Guns to Trophies, the White Tower’s Basement Undergoes a Major Facelift - Friday, 30 March 2012
From big guns to banners and pikes to pistols – the storehouse and arsenal of the mighty Tower of London has been redisplayed and will be unveiled to the public on Saturday 31 March 2012.
The new-look basement galleries give a fascinating glimpse into the depths of the White Tower and it’s even possible to see where the 11th century builders changed their minds about the historic building’s shape when they were setting out the foundations for The Tower of London.
Storehouse is part of the Royal Armouries’ project to transform the White Tower as a bold and visionary gift to the nation, in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces (HRP).
The Royal Armouries – Britain’s oldest museum – and HRP have already created three new galleries in the White Tower – Fit for A King; Treasures; and Power House.
The basement Storehouse project highlights include:
- Big Guns – for many centuries the Tower of London was home to the Board of Ordnance, providers of artillery to the British Army and Navy. The Tower housed not only to state-of-the-art guns but also antique pieces which were displayed to visitors. Today a selection of historic great guns and mortars has been re-presented to give visitors an up-close view of these triumphs of technology and decoration.
- Storehouse – for much of its approaching 1,000-year history, the Tower has been an arsenal packed with arms and armour of every kind. A selection of the pikes, swords, pistols and muskets which have filled the Tower’s stores highlights the site’s important role in supplying Britain’s fighting forces in the past.
- Trophies – as well as showing the products of Britain’s arms makers, the Tower has long been a showcase for trophies captured in foreign wars and curiosities brought back from service abroad. Exhibits come from as far afield as the Baltic and Burma, ranging from bells to door hinges and from a banner to breastplates.
- Continuity and Change – the White Tower has featured museum displays for some 100 years but many of the new basement gallery exhibits have been drawing tourists for much longer. Some have been featured in guidebooks to the Tower’s curiosities since the 18th century.
Museum director Peter Armstrong said, “Basements are traditionally storehouses and can lack the glamour and appeal of main attractions but the re-display of these galleries brings the history alive, in a fascinating and highly visual way.
Working closely with Historic Royal Palaces, we have brought to life the Tower’s role in ensuring that England’s forces were armed effectively throughout the ages – an issue crucial to warfare, even today.
We also acknowledge the generous support of HISTORY™ who have helped make this new exhibition happen and created from our historic images a stunning presentation which explores the pivotal role of the White Tower at the heart of the site throughout centuries of change.”
For more information and the latest news about the Royal Armouries:
Notes to editors
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country
- Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events.
- Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-25 December
- Information Line: 0113 220 1999
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.