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The Hall of Steel in the Royal Armouries in Leeds

The Royal Armouries is the United Kingdom's National Museum of Arms and Armour. It is the United Kingdom's oldest museum, and one of the oldest museums in the world. It is also one of the largest collections of arms and armour in the world, comprising of the UK's National Collection of Arms and Armour, National Artillery Collection, and National Firearms Collection. It is also the keeper of the Tower of London history.[1] The collection is split across three sites:

Location Coordinates
Royal Armouries Museum (Leeds) 53°47′31″N 1°31′56″W / 53.791866°N 1.532258°W / 53.791866; -1.532258
Tower of London (London) 51°30′31″N 0°04′35″W / 51.508545°N 0.076310°W / 51.508545; -0.076310
Fort Nelson (Portsmouth) 50°51′38″N 1°08′20″W / 50.860691°N 1.138867°W / 50.860691; -1.138867

A limited selection of items is also on display in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States, in cooperation with the Frazier International History Museum. The Royal Armouries is located on the third floor of the museum.

The collection is as old as the Tower of London, but was not regularly opened to the public until the reign of Charles II in 1660. From the 15th century (and possibly earlier) distinguished visitors were allowed access to the Royal Armouries in the Tower. From the reign of Elizabeth I, a greater range of visitors was permitted to view a collection made up almost entirely of items from the reign of Henry VIII.

Collections now include the Spanish Armoury, which contains instruments of torture and punishment; and the Line of Kings, mounted figures representing English monarchs. The collections contain many trophy weapons from the height of the British Empire.

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