With Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee fast approaching, the Tower of London’s display of the Crown Jewels has been given a makeover ‘fit for the 21st Century’. We take a look at (what we are 99% certain) must be the longest serving secure storage in London… if not the world…
The Crown Jewels have had their home at the Tower of London since early in the 14th Century (1303 to be exact – if accounts are to be believed). Almost 700 years ago in the wake of several (including one or two successful) attempts at stealing the Jewels, it was decided the existing store at Westminster Abbey was unsafe and that that the Tower was more secure.
It was a good call. Despite several attempts (most notably Colonel Blood in 1671) no one has ever been successful in stealing any of the Crown Jewels. True, there was the civil war in 1649 almost all of the jewels were sold-off or destroyed to raise funds for the new English Republic, but that was revolution not theft. Following restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Charles II ordered replacement Regalia – at a total cost of £13,000 – which is well over £1.5 million in today’s money (based on the RPI).
There’s a lot more to the Jewels than the Robe, Sceptor, Orb and Crown that most of us will be familiar with. All sorts of regalia and vestments worn by the Sovereign are included in the collection. That requires a big room to house them in and until 1669 that was the Jewel House. During that year it was demolished and the Jewels moved to Martin Tower where they were first opened to view to the paying public. They are now on display in the Waterloo Barracks.
If you are visiting the oldest storage in London and might be in need of somewhere to leave you luggage then perhaps we can help with a luggage locker.