Monday, 23 September 2013

Weaponry Research for the Writer...

If you want to see old weaponry on display, and in context, then you will get a lot out of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. But don't expect to see everything in one visit, so be prepared.

It's a National Museum, so it costs nothing to go in- though they welcome donations- and there are additional activities inside, and in the jousting yard, that you pay for, but the rest is FREE.

There are five floors with different displays, as well as an outdoor area for specific displays (they run on set days/weekends, and times, you also need to pay for these).

They have an inexpensive guidebook which it it worth buying, but if you don't there is a sheet to help you find your way around- it's essential to get the best out of your time there.

A few things to bear in mind; you can take pictures, but many areas you can't use the flash on your camera, so check for the unobtrusive warning notices.

If you have a problem with heights, stay away from the window alcoves as can almost see straight down, because of the building design. (I feel wobbly just thinking about it).

This is sunlight falling on the floor from the floor to ceiling windows in the self defence section. It also gives you some idea of the lighting without the camera flash...

                                            A selection of Cannon in the ground                                               floor area of the Hall of Steel...

Looking up at the weapon array in the Hall of Steel. Each section is covered with a selection of arms. You can climb the stairs that surrounds this area and look through the windows as you climb.

                                  This is a pair of flintlock pocket                                         pistols- French, from about 1780.

(They triggered the arrival of another new character for me to discover...)

This is a detail from the large display, including a Civil War Cavalryman on horse.

(In the War section there was a full size display of soldiers from various time periods including this Parliamentarian.)

I have to say I was quite pleased it was just a model, as the fully armed cavalryman looked very intimidating...

There is also a library on the ground floor for researchers, but that wasn't open when we went at the weekend, and you can't just turn up to use it when it is open, booking is required.

Now, I've saved my favourite for my last picture - duelling pistols.

Many historical romance writers will be familiar with the name, Manton. Well in one of the display cabinets among a variety of duelling pistols- and a fully equipped box- was a Manton.

Now it's a good quality version, and could have been used for duelling, but that wasn't its sole purpose; but even so, it was in its own way beautiful -but still deadly.

(This photo has been created by taking the Manton pistol image out of the display cabinet picture I took- big thanks to my son Dane for his editing skills to create the picture for me so you could see it properly.)

                                       A gentleman's Manton                                               flintlock pistol.

Hope you've enjoyed looking at my pictures from my visit to the Royal Armouries.

If you want to copy any of them, please credit the source, myself/blog link, and the Royal Armouries who allow visitors to take photos.


Teresa Ashby said...

That weapon array is an awesome sight, Carol! It sounds like an amazing and interesting place, another of our treasures that is new to me! Thank you (and Dane) for the photos and interesting post :-) x

Brenda Gunning said...

A very interesting account, Carol. I wonder what are you writing to need such research ! Good luck with it !

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Love this type of place for research, carol - great photo of that flintlock pistol!

Carolb said...

The place is huge, and there are so many useful and interesting things to see, Teresa.:)

They even have an Oriental section with some lovely displays and a section of a typical ...

We hadn't planned to visit originally, Brenda, but when I got there and saw it had a self-defence section the writer and handy research opportunity kicked in.

I wanted to see the sort of swords/pistols that might be used in the 18th/19th century. As a couple of my Dorset novel characters will probably need them during their stories. :)

You're right, Rosemary,these type of museums are great for research. There's nothing better than being able to see how something looks in reality- you can better imagine how it would fit a character, or time period.

I have to admit I did spend some time gazing at the Manton- mentally drooling might be a better description. :D

liz young said...

You take very clear photos, Carol, though I wouldn't voluntarily go inside an armoury - I hate weapons of any kind.

Keith Havers said...

Thanks for sharing the photos, Carol. It's a place I've always fancied going to but never got round to it.

Carolb said...

If you get the opportunity to visit, Keith, it is worth the trip.

That's an understandable view, Lizy.
I only need to sharpen photos up occasionally, but I spend more time cropping them than anything else. :-)