Interactive timeline - History of the RA
Before the Romans
The pre-Roman site of the Tower of London was probably occupied by an Iron Age farm.
Twilight of the Roman City
Londinium was remodelled and strengthened in response to the threat of Saxon invasion.
The Conqueror's Castle
Work began on the construction of William the Conqueror's mighty White Tower.
The Tower Enlarged
A major expansion of the Tower's defences during the reigns of Richard I and King John.
The Classic Castle
Henry III extended the defences of the Tower and refurbished and enlarged the royal lodgings.
Apogee of the Medieval Castle
Tower defences extended, to those seen today, by England's greatest warrior king, Edward I.
The Tudor Power House
During Henry VIII's reign the Offices of Ordnance, Armoury, Mint and Records occupy the Tower.
Showplace of the Nation
After the Restoration in 1660 armouries displays are established to impress the visiting public.
The Great Conflagration
The Grand Storehouse including two armouries displays is destroyed by fire on 31 Oct 1841.
Remedievalisation of the Castle
50 years of restoration transformed the appearance of the Tower following the fire of 1841.
The Castle at War
WWII aerial bombing threatens the Tower. The Main Guard is destroyed on the 29 Dec 1940.
The Tower Today
The Tower of London attracts over 2 million visitors per year as a World Heritage Site.
History of the Collection
The Royal Armouries collections are diverse and reflect the changing fashions in collecting arms and armour in Great Britain since the 19th century. Combined with its historic collection, originating in the Tower of London, what survives today is a truly world class collection.
Read the fascinating stories of how each major part of our collections came to be part of the nation’s heritage.
Our collection isn’t a closed one, but ever growing. Through public monies we continue to collect and safeguard the nation’s heritage for future generations to enjoy and to learn from.
The origins of the study of arms and armour lie in the efforts of a small group of 19th and early 20th century gentlemen scholars. Today the field has grown wide in its appeal, from the university trained academic, to the enthusiastic re-enactor.
Within these pages you can gain an insight both to the scholarship and the lives of those early scholars and from our Online Library Catalogue order copies of many of their works.