Explore the story of artillery from slings and arrows to shrapnel shells.
The History Gallery houses a rich and unique collection of historic artillery, instruments, models, uniforms, books, illustrations and personal accounts.
It leads you through the interwoven stories of artillery development, battles, characters and the men of the Royal Artillery over the past 700 years up to the First World War.
A wide range of extraordinary exhibits including over 30 guns are on display.
AD 1000 – An early form of gunpowder is already known in China. Gunpowder was re-discovered by an English monk in about 1250, and warfare began to change dramatically.
1578 – The period’s most important and much copied book about artillery is written by Master Gunner William Bourne. See Bourne’s original print in the gallery.
1500 – Bodiam Mortar, used to hurl stones and incendiaries. See this rare example of an early siege weapon in the gallery. It was found in the moat at Bodiam Castle.
1716 – Birth of the Royal Artillery. A famous general, the Duke of Marlborough persuades King George I to establish two permanent companies of artillerymen. These two companies of 100 men each were formed at Woolwich.
1850′s – Crimean War. Lieutenant Miller (who won the VC) whiles away the tedium of the Siege of Sevastapol painting watercolours of camp. (Cadets were taught drawing so they could make their own illustrated manuals). See Miller’s surviving drawings in the gallery.
1879 – South Africa. Despite their modern weaponry, poor British tactics lead to an overwhelming Zulu attack and disastrous British defeat at Isandlwhana. See the kind of gun used in this battle, the 7-pounder RML (rifled muzzle loader) in the gallery.
1914 – The Great War. See the 18-pounder field gun, the main equipment of the field artillery, that fired over 100 million rounds during that War.