As the Tower of London is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, we couldn’t pick just seven facts to present you with. Therefore, here are seven more fascinating facts about the Tower which may come as a surprise to you.
Tower of London and the Yeoman Warders
The Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower since the 15th century, having originally being part of the royal bodyguard. These days, Yeoman Warders need to have at least 22 years of military experience! Traditionally, when new recruits are sworn in, the Chief Yeoman Warder makes a toast to them with the words “May you never die a Yeoman Warder”.
The Ceremony of the Keys
The Ceremony of the Keys is a process in which the Yeoman Warders use a lantern to lock up the Tower each night during a special ceremony. Regardless of rain or shine, this ceremony has taken place every evening for over 700 years. Locking the Tower is an essential part of a Yeoman Warder’s day, and it has only ever been delayed once due to a bomb attack during World War II.
Visiting the Tower of London took off in the 19th Century
In 1838, three old cages from the Royal Menagerie were used to create a ticket office outside the Tower so that visitors could purchase guides and refreshments. By 1901, over half a million people were visiting the Tower of London each year!
The odd one out
Have you ever noticed that only three of the White Tower turrets are square, and the fourth is actually round? Well, this is because the round-shaped turret holds the building’s main spiral staircase, one that rises from the basement all the way to the roof.
The previous home of the Royal Mint
Between 1279 and 1810, the Tower of London was home to England’s money mint! Because of this, the street nearby was named ‘Mint Street’. What’s more, during this time, Isaac Newton was actually Master of the Mint, responsible for the re-coining of the English currency and penalising counterfeiters.
Tower of London’s symbolic keys
The Tower of London has keys to the heart of its fortress, but they are used for ceremonial purposes only, and cannot actually open anything. Whenever the monarch visits the Tower, the keys are given to them to keep in their possession, and they are to be returned to the Tower once the sovereign departs.
The first in the country to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
The Tower of London was the first place in the United Kingdom to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II with a gun salute. A total of 96 rounds were fired by the Honourable Artillery Company Regiment; representing each year of Her Late Majesty’s life.
This silver five pound coin was released to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of one of our greatest ever monarchs, with the design showing the Tower of London with an arrangement of summer flowers, in full colour! Secure yours HERE.