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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

London Throwback: The Tower of London Part 2

"Either open this page, wait for it to load and go do something else before coming back or just click the X button on the top right hand corner of your browser window and don’t come back."

Continuing from The Tower of London Part 1, here's Part 2 where we spent most of our time at the White Tower viewing the exhibits in the Royal Armouries. Equally interesting was the Bloody Tower, along with the exhibits of torture equipment and the write up of The Royal Menagerie.

As mentioned previously, I personally found the tour at Tower of London really enriching since I've always been interested in medieval history. For me, one of the most compelling aspects of being in historical places is trying to imagine what it would have been like at the time and how the people in different eras had lived there of time long past.

If you are interested in viewing my previous London photo stories, click the links below:

Day 1: A Walk in the Park
Day 2: St Paul's Cathedral, Millennium Bridge and Shakespeare's Globe
Day 2: Borough Market, London Bridge and Tower Bridge
Day 3: The Tower of London Part 1

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Day 3: Tower of London (20 December)

The Royal Armouries collection consisted of some 70,000 examples of arms, armour and artillery dating from antiquity to the present day. It included royal armours of the Tudor and Stuart kings; arms and armour of the English Civil Wars; British and foreign military weapons from the Board of Ordnance and MOD Pattern Room collections; hunting and sporting weapons, as well as an exceptional collection of oriental arms and armour.

The White Tower was a fortress of enormous proportions, symbolic of William the Conqueror’s fierce suppression of a newly conquered capital. It is the oldest medieval building at the Tower.

We were greeted by a painting of the Princes in the Tower upon entering the White Tower. There are many variants of art depicting the Princes in the Tower but that was the first time I saw this version. This painting looked a little suggestive if you were to ask me. I would elaborate more on the murder of the princes later on when we reach the Bloody Tower.

The Fit for a King exhibition was a stark palette of LED lighting and gloss white walkways which was a striking contrast to the historic stone and oak interiors of the Tower.

When kh excitedly told me to stand near the knight/prince/whatsoever, I knew he was up to no good. He later posted this photo on Facebook with a caption something like this:
"Wifey's knight in shiny armour! If you look closely, I'm inside the"

I'm not sure about you but I'm obsessed with standing near to each armour and seeing how I measured in height against each monarch. Some armour were surprisingly diminutive that I could not imagine how someone of such physical attribute could command power and respect.

Oliver Cromwell's sword.

All at a glance.

A pair flintlock pistols of the finest quality was possibly made for King William III.

Moving forward a split second to more contemporary times.

These life-sized wooden models of horses were created by King Charles in the 17th century and recently restored after a 100-year absence from the Tower. They stood with attendant royal suits of armour which are meant to represent the line of kings of England.

The era where guns replaced swords during wars.

Left Column: Armour of King Henry VIII. It was huge compared to the rest. I later found out he was 1.88m tall.
Middle Column: Armour of King Charles I. It was one of the puniest armours and I later found out that he was only 1.63m tall! Just a cm taller than I am!
Right Column Top: King Edward VI who was crowned at the age of 9 which explained the child-sized armour.
Right Column Bottom: Gift armour presented to King James I by Tokugawa Hidetada in 1613. Ah, no wonder it looked Japanese.

I felt like I was in a movie set where some innkeeper with a cloth thrown over his shoulder would pop up any moment.

The Tower in 1547.

The Great Stairs.

A pair of ceremonial bearing swords (only one pictured here) stood out from the rest of the exhibits simply because they exude nothing but simplicity and humility.

My my, what a thick tome.

This jousting lance was really loooooooooooooooong. It stretched from one end of the display cabinet to the other.

Armours tall and short.

A boy’s armour designed for the son of Charles I standing next to The Giant at about 2 metres.

This tallest suit of 2-metre armour made it to the Guinness World Records.

Some treasures sieved from River Thames.

Gifts from all over the world.

Various embellished revolvers were on display.
Red revolver: Decorated with red gold, red enamel and diamonds.
Blue revolver: Decorated with blue enamel panels, white gold and 1517 diamonds.
Brown with gold leaves: A Smith & Wesson revolver decorated by Tiffany and Co.
Black: Looked just like a toy gun I used to have.

Next up, kh was attacked by a ferocious dragon.
As the centrepiece of the Royal Armouries’ exhibition at the White Tower, this dragon sculpture was both artistically grandiose and historically relevant.

Composed of a variety of weapons including muskets, pistols and swords, the dragon was illustrative of the tradition of storing trophies of arms and armour at the Tower of London from the late 17th century.

Kh and I only knew of Isaac Newton as the scientist who discovered gravity. Little did we know that he was the Warden of the Mint.

The Royal Mint.

Nothing educational in this photo. Just a reflection selfie of us.

Types of flintlock.

The Grand Storehouse keys were almost as big as those flintlocks up there.

Board of Ordnance -- The Grand Storehouse.

The Lion's Roar music sounded like a lullaby for the great felines.

Josef Jakobs (30 June 1898 – 15 August 1941) was a German spy who became the last person to be executed at the Tower of London. You could spot the damage to the chair back from the bullets.

Random exhibits such as the executioner’s axe.

Random exhibits

Model of the Tower in 1882. It did felt more contemporary as we proceeded on.

These are for sale??? We found them in the shop and there were label cards mentioning that one should seek assistance for purchase.

A quarter to three and we were done with The Royal Armouries!

Next, we headed for The Bloody Tower.

The tower became known as the Bloody Tower in the mid-16th century because it was believed to be the place where the two Princes in the Tower were murdered by their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Prior to that, The Bloody Tower was actually named the The Garden Tower.

This was Sir Walter Raleigh’s room in the Bloody Tower where he was held prisoner. What a fine prison!

The Bloody Tower was built at the same time as the inner ward's curtain wall, and as a water-gate which provided access to the castle from the River Thames. It was a simple structure, protected by a portcullis and gate.

We were on the hunt to find out what happened to the two princes.

The Princes in the Tower were Edward V of England (12 years old) and Richard of Shrewsbury (9 years old), Duke of York. The two brothers were the sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville. They were lodged in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them, their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This was supposed to be in preparation for Edward's coronation as king. However, the duke was crowned King Richard III and the boys were never seen again.

It is generally assumed that the princes were murdered. There were several suspects who had motives for such an action with Richard III and Henry VII being the most possible suspects. Richard III was killed in the Battle of Bosworth. The victor, Henry Tudor, was crowned King Henry VII. He married the princes’ sister, Elizabeth of York, strengthening his claim to the throne. This could have been jeopardised if the boys had survived. So what really happened to the princes?

Also in the Bloody Tower was an exhibition on Torture at the Tower. I have always been fascinated by Medieval torture devices. Those on display were recreations and not the actual equipment.

Replica of the Scavenger's Daughter.

The Scavenger's Daughter consisted of a hoop of iron with a hinge in the middle. The victim was forced to crouch on one half of the hoop while the other half was pivoted and placed over his back. The torturer would use a screw to tighten the hinge, crushing the victim further and further into his involuntary crouch. Eventually, ribs and breastbone would crack and the spine could be dislocated. Sometimes the compression was so great that blood would gush from the face. This tool was used against people accused of high treason during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England

Replica of The Rack.

The rack was used throughout Eu­rope for centuries. The victim would be tied down while some mechanical device, usually a crank or turning wheel, tightened the ropes, stretching the victim's body until the joints were dislocated. Continued pressure could cause the limbs to be torn right off.

Eventually, public disgust led toTthe Rack’s use being restricted and the invention of The Manacles. This was considered to be a lesser form of torture.

An emaciated polar bear.

Many prisoners of the Tudors entered the Tower of London through the Traitors' Gate.

Prisoners were brought by to the Traitors' Gate along the Thames, passing under London Bridge, where the heads of recently executed prisoners were displayed.

Let us take a peek at King Edward I's room.

A recreation of King Edward I’s (1239-1307) bed was displayed in St. Thomas's Tower. The King’s bedchamber was recreated as it might have looked when Edward stayed at the Tower for a week in the winter of 1294, while preparing for war with France. Read more here.

It was essential that the King’s bed was easy to take apart and transport as Edward frequently travelled both in this country and abroad visiting his estates and putting down rebellions. The chains and rails came down, the four posts were pulled out of the dais (raised platform), curtains were thrown into leather sacks and the whole lot transported on carts or horseback.

They seemed to be playing a sort of game.

Around the room.

I don't know what this is but I like the stained glass window at the back actually.

Looking out to a view of contemporary scene seemed almost surreal especially when we seemed to be enslaved in time within the confines of the various towers.

What juxtaposition of modern glass buildings with medieval stones.

Us with The Lost Palace as backdrop.

Although some of the lost towers have largely faded from the public consciousness, London was the location of several other royal palaces in the past, and you can still find fragments of them if you know where to look.

Fragments we saw none, only lawns of green.

Into the Salt Tower we went. The ground floor of this tower would have been used for storage. Archers would also have stationed here if the Tower was under threat.

The Salt Tower had a very ominous presence about it. According to legend, dogs refused to enter the Tower. Another legend has one of the Yeoman Warders being nearly strangled by a unseen presence. No one would go in the area after dark, for fear of the evil presence that haunts the Tower.

I'm getting the shivers typing this.

Ghosts in the frame.

Time to be Legolas.

Good job, archer!

We found this notice at the Constable Tower highly amusing. Would the ghosts of the 14th century please step forward?

Being enthralled by morbid stuff, I stared at this display for a good full minute.

Summary of the display.

The Royal Menagerie was founded during the reign of King John in the early 1200s. Animals lived at the Tower for over 600 years. Exotic animals were given as royal gifts and animals were kept at the Royal Menagerie for the entertainment and curiosity of the court.

Boys being boys.

After the sun set at close to 4pm, it got really chilly.

When it grew dark, the tower grounds also looked more haunting as exemplified by these pictures.

This grass lawn looked really calming though.

I wondered how long we would spend walking the tower grounds if we weren't there during winter. The short days seemed to give a false impression that night was approaching too soon. We could have easily spent an entire day walking through every room, passageway, and museum. It was truly that fantastic. However, the winter cold got the better of us and what was more inviting than a cup of hot chocolate!

I always crave for soupy dishes when cold but it seemed like there were not many dining options around the vicinity. We were literally cold, tired and hungry and did not want to venture any further for food. £7.99 for TRADITIONAL fish and chips sounded good too! After all, fish and chips originated from England and we wondered about how authentic it would be.

Chi Cats joined us at Tower Hill Diner for dinner looking all tired as usual.

Dinner served! Traditional or not, I did not care. ITADAKIMASU!

That's enough medieval history of London lesson in a post. If you had the time and patience to read up till here, thank you. I hope you had enjoyed reading and learning more about the rich history of the towers (or probably scrolling past all my words with the main objective of leaving me a comment such as "I love your blog. Would you like to follow each other?") =P

I would get busy again and I'm trying to get this post up asap. I reckon there would be awkward expression lots of, unfortunately grammatical and speelling errors, and unforgivable editing. Make do with this version first while I slowly proofread my post some other day. Next London instalment would be a really short post on our night stroll at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

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  1. Jo, Salt Tower makes me shivering too! It looks really creepy! Btw, from when I was a child I have been always interested in armours too, they exhibit is outstanding! Also, the one at the Bloody Tower about tortures is so interesting, Im fascinated by them too..actually always imagine how it could have been for the poor victims!:/ You and your hubby are a sweet couple, the photos you have taken in the evening are so impressive. Btw, for sure after having read your posts, next time I visit London I have to go to the Tower of London. Many kisses dear, hope u had a great Easter xo

    1. Hello Lilli. Thank you for your lovely comment always. If you're fascinated by all that you have mentioned, you would also be like us-- needing one full day at the towers. Have a gorgeous weekend!

  2. Very interesting and beautiful post! Thanks!

    Let me know if you would like to follow each other :)

    1. Thanx for stopping by, Anastasia. I love seeing newcomers here. I would usually follow back if we have enough meaningful exchanges and connections. Looking forward to seeing you around more often. =)

  3. Jo, those different ways of torturing people is WILD! Omg'd! I wouldn't wish that on my worse enemy. I know they were committed of a crime, but that was super cruel. Elizabeth I didn't play! HAHAHA I got shivers too looking at that place. So scary! Love the first part. What gorgeous Knights In Shining Armor and Horses and Dragons! Yummy burgers! This post was so interesting. Thanks.

    1. I really love reading up on all these gore and morbid stuff still though I wouldn't wish those on my worst enemies too, Kim. No living thing deserves to be treated that way no matter how detestable they are. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, dear.

  4. Haha oh my poor brain so overloaded with potential comments but too tiny to hold them all. Cromwell's sword! Is that a comment or an angry oath? By the moons of Grabthar, by Cromwell's sword! I so enjoy all the armor, especially those mini-me ones. Brings back many fond memories of my teenage years in the 1500's. I think I will wait to visit London until there is a Salt 'n Pepa Tower. That would be phat beats :) I really adore these posts of places I will never get to visit brought to life so well by your talented photos and fun prose.

    1. Haha... I don't quite understand what you meant about Cromwell's sword being a comment or an angry oath but for me, that was just a caption coz I had no other description for it. =) I love living vicariously through other people's travel posts too or even photos and description of their own home towns. That's the way to "travel"!

  5. I have been to the tower couple of times and it always amazes me how many people were killed there. How cruel people were those days.

    1. I thought so too. I wonder how they could unleash all these malice on fellow human beings.

  6. More wonderful photos! Love all the armours and weapenry, just can't take my eyes off those pictures.
    With all that cold I'm sure it was a nice warm dinner, it really looks tasty.

    1. There's always a strong allure to such medieval artefacts. Thank you for your comment, dear.

  7. you both look so cute together!
    I wish I could visit London soon.
    I enjoy seeing every picture, it's very interesting!


    1. Thank you for your sweet comment. I really love seeing newcomers here. Will drop by your blog soon!

  8. lol i love this post!!! i've never been in the salt tower.. i'm too chicken!!! even when i go to the tower of london itself i'm always worried something will follow me home is that crazy hahaha!!! you're so brave to go into the salt tower!

    the pics of you and the hubs are so cute lol can really tell how much fun you guys have together!!

    and your fish and chips dinner looks very traditional!! so yum!

    in response:

    i didn't highlight my hair.. lol i think maybe it's the sunlight hahaha. my mom is like 1/8 dutch or something and she naturally has brownish colored hair.. and her eyes have flecks of auburn gold in them! sadly i only got boring black eyes.. but i think my hair picked up a little bit of her color naturally :p

    the catacombs sadly were not accessibly when we were there they were sealed off.. i think they were worried about the safety of it.

    lol thanks for the confirmation about mango.. i'm PRETTY sure you are much smaller then me.. but i'll take it lol!! i'm pretty sure anything else in there store i wouldn't be able to wear a XXS but it might have just been the jacket lol.

    and YES omgosh these luxembourg pictures were taken over a month ago.. and my foot is STILL swollen. it's healed and i can move my foot left and right.. but not flex it up and down. so weird right??? it's strange like i remembered spraining my leg as a child lots.. and the recovery time was so fast.. and yet now as an adult it takes forever and it doesn't seem to have healed properly.. another sign i'm getting old *sigh* lol!!

    1. I felt that there were other parts of the other towers that felt chilling too though I attributed it to the winter cold. Hehehe... So it wasn't really a brave thing. I explored a very famous abandoned haunted hospital in Singapore and that felt 100 times worse than the towers. Hehehe...

      Your mum's eyes sound so alluring! And yes, I fit into some xxxs, some xxs, some xs and even s for MNG so I would say it really depends on what clothing items. Yeap, it does take a longer time to heal any parts of our body as we age... sobz sobz sobz...

  9. This was marvellous, I loved it. I read the whole thing too. The Tower of London is a fascination of mine...I've watched a lot of programs on it and things. I really wonder what happened to the Princes', I hope in some way they escaped and were able to live a long life. Loved all the armour and weapons too, so cool. I hope you're having a wonderful week so far doll Xxx

    1. Ah, you're one of those patient ones. As I was doing up this post, I realised there were new updates on the princes. It seems like there were 2 skeletons which were greatly contested and in the end, it was decided not to have any tests conducted on them. It's all rather vague. I think it might be good to leave it as an open ending. Have a gorgeous week!

  10. Oh wow, looks like you had so much fun in London! I've never been before, but the historical buildings look so vintage and it's interesting reading all about it even though i'm not much of a history person :P And that food looks delicious haha~

    p.s I love interacting with other bloggers as well , thank you for always kindly replying to me hehe! ~ I don't know why the picture wasn't showing up because I'm following you publicly! I refreshed and refollowed you and now my picture's showing up again!

    Can't wait to see your next posts! ^_^

    1. I'm not much of a history person when it is related to academics or History as a subject in school. I really hated those coz I hate to cram facts and dates in my puny little brain. However as general knowledge, I embrace History with open arms.

      Yay! Yup, I can see you on the list now. Hope to continue our 2-way communication.

  11. What an adventure!! You guys got to see the coolest exhibits! This is the perfect blend of education and fun!

  12. Its cool!

    And visiting my blog, too

  13. Tower of London is an amazing place to visit, no doubt. I believe it's both entertaining and awe inspiring, there are so many interesting things about it. You took so many photographs over there, so I feel like I had a little trip as well:) It's full of magnificent beauty and culture, for sure all those ancient stones reverberate with dark secrets)
    Thank you for your sweet comments which you have left at my blog, it is so kind of you!
    Wishing you a wonderful day;)

    1. Even your comments are so artistically written! Love your writing style! I'm glad that my post has allowed you to take a little trip too. I love living vicariously through other people's travel posts too or even photos and description of their own home towns. That's the way to "travel"!

  14. I am more and more interested in anything medieval. Great pics and the food looks so delicious!

    1. Those are the best parts of History. Oh, and ancient civilizations too.

  15. Great post dear...lovely pics..:-)...thx for sharing..:-)

  16. so cool, and I love the king's room. medival history is definitely fascinating. esp all the armor the knights have to wear- it must have been so heavy!

    1. You're right. Whenever I watch movies of medieval war scenes, I often wondered about how heavy their get-up is and how I would have just collapse from sheer exhaustion before I even reached the battleground.

  17. When I went to the Tower, I spent sooo long in the armory, my friends were waiting in the end and yelled at me. LOL! I have a deep fascination with everything medieval

    1. Hehehe... Yes, it is important to go to museums and the likes with the right people. I wouldn't screa, at you for sure. I'm always very afraid of holding up people's time once I get immersed in the beauty of culture and history. It was fortunate that I'm generally a fast reader and I always end up waiting for the hubby to finish reading.

  18. That is awesome! I've been itching to see London someday and this post isn't helping those wanderlust pangs! Adding this to my list though.


    1. Thanx for your comment. I really love seeing newcomers here and I hope we maintain a meaningful 2-way exchange.

  19. Wow.. the Tower is so interesting! yet very mysterious and scary.

    Btw, your hubby is very funny about the knight in shining armor pic. hehehe...

    My BF only said that my skin was smoother, but he couldn't say that the skin tone became brighter xp

    Dreamy Princess

    1. Oh, hahaha. You managed to pick that up. Ooh, boys... they don't know the difference between skin tone tone being brighter or not. Hehe...

  20. I love how in-depth your photos and tourist details are Jo, it really gives us a genuine idea of the place and atmosphere. Thanks for your kind words, we only had a four day weekend but I took a few extra days off. Hope you're doing well.. Have a great start to the weekend hun!

    1. Thank you, Sam. I'm glad that my effort in crafting such posts aren't in vain whenever I know people do read the words. =) Have a gorgeous weekend!

  21. Very nice photos! The place looks very interesting.
    Have a nice weekend!!!

  22. So funny when we visited London we went to the same places. Your photos are great

  23. This was the best history lesson I ever had Jo!!! See I don't even have to visit it's like I have been there already now. Lol wifey's knight in shiny armour!! Yes I can see you in the armour ;-)! I can't believe they still have the chair where that "poor" Josef was executed! Btw I agree that a fine prison lol. Wish you a wonderful Sunday Jo. Yes it's Lola on Instagram. She has the better cellphone and more time :D

    xx Mira

    1. Awww... I feel so honoured to know that my words could actually take you right back to history. Hehe... Yeah, while many equipment were replicas, that was the exact same chair. I will make sure I acquaint myself well with Lola too!

  24. Hi Jo! Your blog posts are full of so much information and detailed photos I feel like I'm literally following you on your trip. Although Im guessing that is the point hahaha if so, well done! I enjoyed reading all the history (although its probably pretty obvious now I really enjoy history in general, bbc documentaries anyone?) So far my favorites are reading about the torture museum! I remember us being the girls who enjoy horror and morbid things, power to us!

    I learned in class that those old stone castles were really cold so they would place large thick blanket/tapestries etc. over the walls to keep the heat insulated. I can't imagine having to go to war in that armor! How would you even move and your line of sight would be so limited! (like "tiger eye" in Cantonese) When you said that some of the armor seemed to be for some really questionable small men, it reminded me of Napoleon and his short stature.

    Re: My sibling and I have swam throughout our lives although I wouldn't say we're good at it haha My mom thought we had to learn how to swim because it could save our lives. It actually wasn't that far but it sure looks far in the photo! Also my sister ordered her eggs hard boiled hahaha It just looked so funny when it came like that. Oh good job at escaping from Freeing SG! Were you able to escape from Breakout?

    1. That's totally the point and I feel honoured that you feel that you were literally following me on my trip. Hehe... Yeah Morbid Power! I didn't know the part about hanging tapestries over the wall to keep the heat insulated. I always learn some cool history fact from you! Ah, Napolean is 1.68m. Not as short as King Charles I though any guy below 1.7m is considered short to me.

      PS: We escaped from Break Out too! *smug look*

  25. Thanx for stopping by. I love seeing newcomers here. I would usually follow back if we have enough meaningful exchanges and connections. Looking forward to seeing you around more often. =)

  26. Thanx for stopping by, Marta. I love seeing newcomers here. I would usually follow back if we have enough meaningful exchanges and connections. Looking forward to seeing you around more often. =)


I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)


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