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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, exhibits.

We have been to the museum on a number of occassions to attend events such as Art Deco fairs, but I had not been around the displays. The museum's exhibits are on five floors and there is a lot to see so I want to show some photos of my favourite items. There is a no-flash rule so some of the pictures are a bit dark.

The mueum has a large collection of artifacts from the Indean subcontinent. For me, this was really interesting stuff.

A magnificent exhibit of an armoured Indian elephant.

I don't know whether this was a model or a real, stuffed, elephant.

The case behind the elephant, Indian bladed wapons

and armour.

The oriental room.

A Turkish helmet.

An Ottoman musket

Ottoman firearms

An Ottoman Sipahi from the front

and from the rear.

The elephant again, from the balcony.

English Civil War room

ECW from another angle.

The Battle of Pavia, 1525, an exhibit of full sized manekins.

A case on the Battle of Blenheim.

A small display on the Great Man himself.

A display of Gatling guns.

Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, externals

Friday of last week. I have commented recently on the mud and water logged fields make hill walking unpleasant, well, the situation is only very slowly improving. I thought I should do something else, I shall visit a museum, so the idea of a trip to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds was born.

The museum is located in a part of Leeds city centre that thrived well until the 1960's, when the woollen industries collapsed in Yorkshire. It is in a river  and canal basin, the River Aire I think. A lot of money was put into the area in the nineties and noughties. A number of Victorian wool warehouses and other buildings were converted to offices and apartments and a number of new blocks were built. I like the area, the mix of old and new really appeals to me.

Approaching from the city centre, this is the Museum's stairwell, used as exhibition space for muskets and pikes, etc.

New apartment blocks around the canal basin.

Fancy bridge across the river to other apartments

New blocks and Victorian blocks in the background.

Entrance lobby and public space

4th floor view from the museum, of the converted Victorian buildings
In the U.K., you may have seen on the television news that parts of Leeds city centre suffer from flooding. This is one of those areas.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Verdun and "Theeb"

Yesterday morning, I gave my talk "The Battle of Verdun, February to December 1916" to my local U3A Military History Group. We lost some time at the beginning, due to technical interface problems so I had to lose some of the planned detail but I think the talk was well received. We had about twenty five attendees, lots of questions, a few laughs, I only saw one person asleep, lots of thanks at the end. Made it all worth while.

Next talk - I am to do the Franco - Prussian War again for a different U3A History Group, I am looking forward to it.

Whilst I am writing, I would like to recommend the film "Theeb" to you. Filmed in Wadi Rum, Jordan where David Lean filmed a lot of "Lawrence of Arabia", it is in Arabic with English subtitles. The story is set in 1916, Theeb is a Bedouin boy that has to survive. The film has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. So if you don't mind subtitles, please give it a go.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

U3A Verdun and "Defending York"

Tuesday I started a run-through of my draft talk on the Battle of Verdun, however, after 60 minutes I had been through the strategic decision making process for the two adversaries and just got to the initial German bombardment so I stopped. The talk is 90 - 100 minutes long; 60 minutes just on events leading up to the battle, maybe I have too much. Back to the drawing board. As of this morning I have seven days to rejig this.

Yesterday was something completely different. I attended the University of York's Centre for Lifelong Learning course on "Defending York". This was a three hour talk on the development of the castles (yes, York had two, one on each side of the River Ouse) and the city walls, from the initial Roman Legionary Fort to the English Civil War. Much of the city walls are built on the Roman foundations and follow its pattern. After the Norman Conquest, York became the main seat of government and the King's power in Northern England so during the Medieval period the walls were rebuilt and extended to such an extent that York has been besieged but never stormed. A very interesting way to spend an afternoon. There is a second talk in May on the Siege of York in 1644 for which I should book a place.