For centuries the Tower of London housed storerooms to keep safe and maintain arms and armour for supply to the army and navy when needed. Storehouse
, the new display in the basement galleries of the White Tower
, shows some of the objects which were once issued from this important depot and later used for public display after they were withdrawn from active service.
Many items, large and small, plain and decorated were housed in the storehouses at the Tower of London. Storehouse
provides an introduction to a variety of these, from the massive cannon and mortars supplied to the artillery train to the spears and swords, pikes and pistols issued to cavalry, infantry or navy.
Amongst the mass display of weapons there are spears - some commissioned by Henry VIII
and decorated with a Tudor rose – as well as swords, muskets and pistols used by combatants in the Napoleonic Wars.
Fewer in number but impressive because of their size and weight are the artillery pieces in Storehouse
. Some date back almost 500 years to the reign of Henry VIII while others are reminders of later monarchs and conflict. The 3-ton ‘Namur’ mortar made in England in 1692 is one of the heavyweight champions. It was reputedly used at the siege of Namur in 1695 to fire 227 kg (500 lb) balls at the city.