Tower of London-Power behind the throne - Thursday, 10 February 2011
A fabulous “bejewelled” dragon – standing 3m high and specially commissioned by the Royal Armouries – will create a guaranteed “wow factor” at a compelling new exhibition opening at the Tower of London this Spring.
Discover the stories and personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of Royal business from within the mighty Tower of London’s walls from 1100 to the present day.
Power House – the new permanent exhibition opening on the White Tower’s top floor on April 2 in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces – showcases the roles of the major organisations that provided the bedrock of England’s power throughout the centuries.
Great institutions include the Ordnance Office, Ordnance Survey, the Royal Mint, Record Office, the Jewel House, Menagerie and Royal Observatory. The exhibition will also put the spotlight on other Tower of London functions, ranging from royal residence to state prison.
Royal Armouries’ Head of Creative Programmes Karen Whitting said, “The Tower has been home to many important national institutions for over 900 years and was viewed as a fortress and symbol of England’s might.
“Close to the seat of Royal power at Westminster, the Tower became England’s ultimate Power House – and the functions it housed were vital to whether successive monarchs kept or lost control of the kingdom.
“There are some fascinating stories to be told – including the tale of William Foxley, potmaker for the Royal Mint, who fell asleep for 14 days and 15 nights. The poor soul was was viewed as a curiosity and was prodded, poked and even burned in an effort to rouse him. Even King Henry VIII visited the Tower, to witness the ‘spectacle’ for himself.”
To create a stunning welcome to visitors, the Royal Armouries is creating a mighty dragon, a modern trophy, made up of components from of each of the great institutions of State. The design is still being finalised but the majestic beast could include:
- Ordnance Office – armour, swords, firearms and cannon to create the back legs and body
- Menagerie – a cage for the ribcage
- Prison – chains to create the tail
- The Royal Mint – coins to represent the dragon’s fire
- The Observatory – telescopes for front legs
- The Records Office and Ordnance Survey – parchments and maps for wings
- The Jewel House – fake diamonds and rubies for the dragon’s eyes
Power House will also include interactive opportunities from the Royal Armouries’ popular Hands on History experience.
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Notes to editors
- Power House is being organised in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London
- This exhibition would not have happened without the generous support of Energy Invest, HISTORY™ and Ordnance Survey
- The Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of arms and armour, plus historic cannon and artillery. It 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
- To support the work of the Royal Armouries; make a donation at www.justgiving.com/armouries/donate
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business based on the same site in Leeds.