Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A visit to Firepower

After one of the best Masonic meetings I had ever been to and been part of (the initiation of a new member or Brother into my Mother Lodge), a very good friend – who is also a member of the Lodge – came to stay overnight with my wife and I.

After a superb cooked breakfast of sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, and baked beans (plus some croissants!) prepared by my wife, my friend and I paid a visit to Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich, London. It took us less than ten minutes to drive there from our house, and after parking in the nearby car park, we walked onto the Woolwich Arsenal site via the Warren Lane entrance. Our walk took us past the original Royal Military Academy and the local History Centre. We stopped off at the latter for a look around as it houses a very interesting display about the development of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.

We then made our way to the museum, passing a recently installed 'gate guardian' (a 2S3 Akatsiya) on the way.


As we had been to the museum before, but had only managed to visit the ground floor, we made our way to the upper floor ...


... which is dedicated to telling the development of artillery and the history of the Royal Artillery up to and including the First World War.

We were also lucky enough to be able to visit the Cold War exhibit, which is housed in Building 42, opposite the main part of the museum. This is opened by request, and we spent a very interesting time in there accompanied by one of the volunteers and a visitor from Brazil. One of the largest exhibits is the prototype 'Green Mace' 5-inch automatic anti-aircraft gun system, which is as large as a London double-decker bus and had a rate-of-fire of 96 rounds per minute!

After a snack lunch in the museum's excellent café we made our way back to the car park via the main entrance to the Royal Arsenal site. Out side the old Brass Foundry building we saw a Saxony Demi Cannon that was cast in Dresden in 1733. It is mounted on a replica carriage … and looks very impressive.




By then it was just after 2.00pm and I had to drive my friend to North Greenwich underground station so that he could make his way across London to Paddington in order to catch his train back to Bristol. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, and we hope to visit another museum (possible Chatham Historic Dockyard or the Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham) the next time he is able to stay with us.

8 comments:

  1. Now that is a museum that I really have to visit.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  2. Interesting. I'd never heard of that one before.

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  3. Pete,

    You could easily spend two or three hours just looking around the museum ... and the surrounding Royal Arsenal is also worth a visit as there are lots of odds and ends to be seen in amongst the development that is taking place.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Conrad Kinch,

    I am not sure what you had never heard about before? If you could give me a clue, I could probably give you some more information.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. It's been a few years since I last went to the Firepower Museum, I'll have to rectify that next year because it really is a gem.

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  6. Note that Chatham Dockyard is mostly closed for the winter until mid February.

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  7. Lee Hadley,

    Firepower is open for most of the year from Tuesday to Saturday, but will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period.

    It is easy to get into the Cold War section. Just ask at the desk as you go in and they will arrange for someone to open up the building and escort you around.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Nigel Drury,

    Thanks for reminding me that Chatham Historic Dockyard is closed over the winter months.

    The next meeting is in February, but I think that we will leave our visit until the meeting after that (May) when the weather might be a bit warmer.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete