Visit to Royal Armouries Leeds

A group from the Worshipful Company including the Master and Warden Colin Reese went north to visit the Royal Armouries museum at Leeds on 21 April 2015. This is the third time a Northern meeting has been arranged – the Vulcan bomber in 2012, the Rail Museum at York, and this year.
It gives a great opportunity for those that live in the area to attend, and importantly to bring local guests to help understand the traditions of the City of London¸ and more specifically the Livery of the City.
Our formal itinerary started at 12.00 with a reception, followed by lunch and coffee. Those arriving early had free range of the galleries before lunch. After lunch we had the formal part of the day with initially a visit to the “War” gallery, which is what the title says – weapons of war through the ages. This was fascinating.
One of the most interesting aspects is how arms and armour developed along similar lines in different parts of the world, partly because mans’ desire to defend himself is strong and the human form is the same. Indeed one fact imparted to us was that a knight could swim in a full suit of armour, and the training and lifestyle of an English knight and a Japanese Samurai bore many similarities.
After the tour we visited the “playroom” where we all could handle a variety of weapons, ranging from the English Civil War muskets and two handled swords, both surprisingly well balanced and easy to use, to the relatively modern. In particular there were examples of the famous Kalashnikov AK47 and the famous British .303.  

The AK47 was designed by Igor Kalashnikov shortly after WW2 and is perhaps the ultimate in perfect engineering design. The British SMLE .303 was partly built and designed by Enfield, one of the oldest armament factories in the world and close by Waltham Abbey, the home of the famous gunpowder mills which helped keep the guns at Trafalgar firing. These two rifles probably between them having spilt more blood than certainly any other firearm, and possibly any other weapon system.
We were delighted on the day that Anita from the WCB office could join us and thanks must go to her for the effort she put in to ensure we all had a great day out in Yorkshire.
The group finished with a welcome cup of tea and we departed after a truly fascinating day at about 5.30.