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An exhibition celebrating 25 years of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Explore the image galleries and videos below to learn about how our museum moved to its current home in Leeds and the story of the move from our historic home at the Tower of London. Also, learn about our Then and Now community project where we worked with residents of Leeds Dock to create works of art that reunite the past and present of the area through photography that blends the old and new.

Celebrating 25 years of the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds

2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Over the last twenty-five years we have entertained and educated millions of visitors about the nation’s collection of arms and armour.

By 1989, centuries of collecting had left the Tower of London, our original home, packed full of arms and armour and unable to do the collection justice. The decision was made to find a new home. After seven years of meticulous planning, Clarence Dock in Leeds was chosen as the venue, and the Royal Armouries Museum opened in 1996.

Since then, our flagship Museum, with five galleries and a specially built tiltyard has welcomed well 200,000 visitors a year. They have enjoyed live interpretation, falconry displays, crafting demonstrations and incredible jousting tournaments featuring competitors from all over the globe.

Explore this exhibition to discover the exciting story behind our move to Yorkshire and see some of the amazing events and displays we’ve held at the Museum over the last 25 years.

Explore the images below to learn about the history of the Museum

Then and Now

In the 25 years since the Royal Armouries first opened its doors, Clarence Dock and the surrounding area has transformed from a former industrial transport hub into a thriving cultural district which is home to a vibrant community.

To explore just how much the area surrounding the museum has changed, we got together with local residents with an interest in photography. Using image manipulation software, our community group has merged old photos of the dock with their own photos recreating the same views today. The result has been a series of ‘Then and Now’ composite images, which you can see here.