Tucked away between the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the Jewel Tower is an easily overlooked but precious fragment of English history.
It was built in 1365 as the 'Jewel House' to safeguard Edward III's silver plate and world treasures. It's the sole survivor of the 'Privy Palace', the private royal apartments within the great mediaeval Palace of Westminster. It's also the only part of the palace complex which survived the disastrous fire of 1834 and is regularly open to the public.
Displaying finely carved mediaeval vaulted roofs, it's 14th-century architecture remains largely on altered, and you can still see the excavated remains of its original moat. It later became a royal Tudor lumber room, whose contents include dolls discarded by Henry VIII daughters. Subsequently it housed the House of Lords records and then the National Weights and Measures Office, determining the value of weights and measures for Britain and its empire.
You can explore the towers history in changing roles over the centuries across three floors of recently installed displays. Features include model of the last mediaeval Palace of Westminster, replicas of precious objects, and room settings helping you experience the lives of a mediaeval treasury official and an 18th-century clerk.
Prior permission required.
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799, 148, 211, 88, 11, 24, 148, 211, 784
|English Heritage||FREE entry|
|London Pass||FREE entry|
|Phone||020 7222 2219|
|Website||The Jewel Tower|