Friday 11 September 2009

Open House at the Arsenal site

A press release from firepower - ROYAL ARSENAL PREPARES TO OPEN ITS DOORS

On Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September, the Royal Arsenal's historic Old Royal Military Academy where history was both taught and made - a Grade II (star) listed building built 1716-20 - will be open free of charge as part of the London Open House Weekend. The building is attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor and was commissioned by the Government’s Board of Ordnance. It was the birthplace of the Royal Artillery, and was one of the first military academies of Europe. The British army officer training system now based at Sandhurst, was first established here. The Academy took in the first cadets in 1721 then in 1805, they were moved into a converted workshop nearby, and the RMA Woolwich became known to generations of officers as "The Shop". The traditions begun and standards set here in the 18th Century are carried through to today as the core values of military education and standards in Britain and in many other countries. The building is now used by Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum.

- and - what they don't say in this press release (which comes from Firepower and thus is only interested in the Royal Artillery) that it had a formative role in the Royal Engineers - and - perhaps more importantly was the place where many scientists undertook research. I have always felt that it is about time someone took seriously Woolwich's role in the scientific community of the 18th and 19th centuries - and the role of the Royal Military Academy in being one of the earliest institutions to provide a scientific education in this country.
I did edit that press release down a lot too!

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