Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 51°29′38″N 0°4′15″E / 51.49389°N 0.07083°E / 51.49389; 0.07083

Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum
Firepower Royal Artillery Museum London.png
Established 4 May 1820
Location Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, South East London
Public transit access Woolwich Arsenal National Rail logo.svg DLR no-text roundel.svg
Website Official website

Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum is a military museum in Woolwich in south-east London, England, which tells the story of the Royal Artillery and of the Royal Arsenal.


Firepower - - 57579.jpg

Although the museum was set up to preserve Royal Artillery (RA) history, it is in fact much more than a regimental museum as the RA has been involved in most British actions for over 200 years. Over two million men and women have served in the RA since its formation and human stories of bravery and sacrifice are told throughout the museum.

The museum is located in some of the former buildings of the Royal Arsenal, which was Britain's principal ordnance manufacturing facility from the early 18th century until the mid-20th century. Since the turn of the millennium the Royal Arsenal site has been undergoing a mixed-use redevelopment, and Firepower is one of the anchor features of this project.

The forerunner of Firepower was the Royal Military Repository, which was established on the Royal Arsenal site in May 1778. After a fire in 1802 the surviving artefacts were rehoused in the Old Royal Military Academy. In 1820 the main collection was moved to the Rotunda on Woolwich Common. The collection moved to Firepower in April 2001. All of Firepower's buildings were once part of the Royal Laboratory Department, which controlled the manufacture of ammunition. The Old Military Academy and some of the other buildings used by Firepower are grade II listed. The adjacent Greenwich Heritage Centre tells the story of the local people of Greenwich who worked in the Arsenal and made the guns.

Collection and displays[edit]

As so many people have served in the Royal Artillery, the museum's archive of 'Gunner' records are much in demand with genealogists and family-history researchers. The archive's experts have produced a handy guide for Royal Artillery family-tree researchers called "Is there a Gunner in your family tree?" which explains step by step just how to find out about Gunner ancestors and relatives.

Firepower has large collections of historic and modern weapons. It is composed of the following sections:

  • Field of Fire: An interactive exhibit with sound, smoke, screens and vibrations designed to give visitors an idea of what it is like to be a modern gunner in war time.
  • The Gunnery Hall: The museum's main display of 20th century weapons.
  • The History Gallery: This covers the history of artillery from slings and arrows onwards.
  • Medals Gallery: Displays a selection from the museum's collection of thousands of medals won by members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and tells some of the stories behind them.
  • Modern Gunner


The museum will close by 2017 due to a low number of visitors. The main collection will be removed with elements covering the Royal Arsenal's Woolwich history kept in one of the buildings.[1][2]

Gallery of exhibits[edit]

Gallery of buildings[edit]

Four historic buildings have been leased to the museum since the 1990s for the storage and display of artefacts and archives, etc, two of which were linked by a new building (1999-2001) to form the main museum.[3]

See also[edit]

Other Artillery museums[edit]


  1. ^ "Woolwich Firepower Royal Artillery Museum 'to leave by 2017' - former board member hits out". Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "A statement by the Chairman of the Royal Artillery Museum Board". Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Survey of London vol. 48: Woolwich. Yale. 2012. 

External links[edit]