After popping into the Greenwich Heritage Centre, I went to visit Firepower: the Royal Artillery Museum. The museum covers the history of the Royal Artillery, which was first formed in 1716. This particular building was opened in 2001, but before that the collections were housed in the Rotunda on Greenwich Common from 1820, and prior to that the Royal Artillery Museum was known as the Royal Military Repository, established in 1778 by a Royal Warrant issued to Captain William Congreve RA by King George III.
The Royal Arsenal has a military history dating back to Roman times, but the RA itself dates to the sixteenth century. The museum covers the history of the Artillery and the RA, with a special mention for the role the Artillery and the Arsenal played during the war years.
The museum holds collections of artillery of all kinds, including an early 15th century bombard, an early mortar and a 14th century Chinese t’ung, as well as cast-iron and bronze guns. Modern ammunition and medals are also featured. A timeline of artillery places the museum’s collections in context. I’d be lying if I said I was fascinated by armaments, but I thought the displays were well thought-out and engaging. The children I saw in the museum seemed particularly fascinated.
Perhaps of greatest interest to those with an interest in military matters, the museum is worth a visit especially if you have children. The entrance price is very reasonable and there’s a great deal to see.
Address: Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, London, SE18 6ST
Opening Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm
Prices: Adult £5.30, Concession £4.60, Child £2.50; under-5s free.