Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries at the Tower of London accumulated one of Europe’s largest collections of arms and armour, and is generally regarded as England’s oldest museum. A large part of the collection has been transferred to a purpose-built museum designed by Derek Walker and Buro Appold at Clarence Dock alongside the River Aire at Leeds which opened in 1996. The centrepiece of the 5-storey building is a tower, the Hall of Steel, accommodating the staircase, which is ornamented with stained glass and weapons of the 17th and 19th centuries, with a display of mortars and cannon on the ground floor. The museum’s galleries illustrate all aspects of war from the middle ages to the 19th century. There are copious displays of the weapons and the characteristic leather buff coats used by soldiers in the English Civil War of the 1640s. The 18th century galleries explain how troops in Britain can to be uniformed with their characteristic red coats, and display the muskets and cavalry swords that they would have used in battle. There are displays showing how firearms came to be mass-produced in the 19th century, first in the United States by such manufacturers as Samuel Colt, whose dragoon pistol of 1848 is exhibited, and then by the Royal Small Arms Manufactory at Enfield Lock in north London. A Gatling gun of 1873, of the kind used in the colonial wars of the late 19th century is one of the key exhibits. There is a substantial section on the manufacture of firearms, and another on the ways in which nations have turned away from warfare towards peace. The museum is able to stage tournaments and jousting contests. 

Royal Armouries Museum
Armouries Drive
LS10 1LT Leeds
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 113 - 2201999