Tower Armouries in the White Tower

On the Monday 10th April 1916 the entire White tower housing new displays of the Tower Armouries' Collection on all floors was opened to the public. For the curator Charles ffoulkes it was literally a red-letter day as he recorded details of it in the Tower Minute book in red ink. It marked the completion of work started over twenty-one years earlier under his predecessor Harold Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon, as noted in the dedication

To my dear friend + master
Dillon
built upon his foundations.
Charles ffoulkes
12 July 1917

Today, that museum is known as the Royal Armouries and the collection has spread across three sites: the Tower of London, Leeds and Fort Nelson, Portsmouth. The main collections can trace their roots back to the sixteenth century, but 1916 marked their public transformation from Ordnance Stores, providing decoration for interiors across the Tower of London site and the wider world, to the national museum of arms and armour.

1916 also saw the Authorised Guide to the Tower of London revised to include a description of the new Tower Armouries' displays, and the publication of Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London Vol I and II by Charles ffoulkes, which is the first published catalogue of the Armouries' collections.

These publications have been digitised for you to explore below. The Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London Vol I and II was the personal copy of Lord Dillon, which upon his death was returned to ffoulkes in 1933 for deposit in the Armouries' collection. It contains many annotations and insertions by ffoulkes and Dillon, and as such are unique.

This work was given to my friend Viscount Dillon.
on publication
of his death
18 Dec.1902
it passed to me + is now
deposited in the
Armouries
Nov.1933
Charles ffoulkes
Charles ffoulkes (standing), Curator of the Armouries at the Tower of London, with his predecessor The Viscount Dillon in 1913.

These publications have been digitised for you to explore.
Selecting them will open another window and allow you to turn the pages and search their contents.

Authorised Guide to the Tower of London. Rev. 1916. Download PDF
Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London Vol I. 1916 Download PDF
Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London Vol II. 1916 Download PDF