Explore 1800s stories

Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854

Crimean War

The Crimean War was fought by Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. For the British, the campaign was symbolised by military and logistical incompetence alongside the bravery and endurance of its soldiers.

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The Battle of Abu Klea, 17 January 1885

Egypt and the Sudan

British forces occupied Egypt in 1882 to safeguard the Suez Canal and British financial interests. This led to further intervention in the neighbouring Sudan, where two wars against rebellious Islamic tribesmen were fought in hostile desert conditions.

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Bust of Lieutenant-General Colin Campbell KCB, 1858

Colin Campbell: A soldier of coolness and precision

From humble beginnings, Field Marshal Sir Colin Campbell rose to lead the Highland Brigade in the Crimean War and was in command of the 'Thin Red Line' at Balaklava. He later led a relief army with great distinction during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

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Samovar taken from Napoleon’s baggage after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Emperor's samovars

Two samovars that belonged to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte shed light on his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. They also show how practices like tea drinking spread through different cultures.

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Coatee worn at Waterloo by Brigade-Major Thomas Noel Harris, 1815

Waterloo coatee's provenance confirmed

In 2015, the National Army Museum was presented with a rare coatee worn by Major Thomas Harris at the Battle of Waterloo. A combination of historical evidence and modern forensic analysis was used to confirm its authenticity.

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Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Wolseley, 1910

Garnet Wolseley: The modern major-general

Field Marshal Garnet Wolseley won important victories in several colonial campaigns. Because of his reforming zeal and attention to detail the phrase ‘All Sir Garnet’ came to mean everything’s in order.

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10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars, 1812

Cavalry roles

Soldiers who fought on horseback were known as cavalry. Often dominating the battlefield, they performed a variety of roles, from smashing enemy formations to scouting and reconnoitring.

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General Sir John Moore, c1805

John Moore: Alone with his glory

An army reformer and pioneer of light infantry units, General Sir John Moore's inspired leadership at Corunna in 1809 saved an army from destruction, but led to his death in action.

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Battle of Salamanca, 1812

Battle of Salamanca

The Earl of Wellington's victory at Salamanca in July 1812 defied his reputation as a purely defensive general and shattered French dominance on the Iberian Peninsula.

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The storming of Magdala, 1868

Abyssinia Expedition

The 1868 expedition to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) was one of the most ambitious and expensive military campaigns ever undertaken by the British Army.

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Battle of Aliwal, 1846

Battle of Aliwal

This battle was fought on 28 January 1846 during the First Sikh War. A British-Indian force took on the Sikh army of the Punjab. It ended in a decisive British victory and is seen by some as a ‘near perfect battle’.

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Soldiers and women on a march, 1811

Soldiering wives

During the 19th century soldiers' wives played a significant role in supporting troops on campaign. Here we take a look at some of these women, a few of whom became minor celebrities.

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Explore 1800s events

The Indian 'Mutiny'?
Secondary workshop

3 September 2018 - 23 July 2019

FREE

The Indian 'Mutiny'?

Analyse evidence from documents and artefacts, then curate an exhibition to make a case for whether the conflict was a mutiny or war of independence.

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Florence and Mary
Primary workshop

3 September 2018 - 23 July 2019

FREE

Florence and Mary

Discover the historic contributions of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole and why they have been remembered (or not) over time.

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Imperial trophies: Collecting on campaign during the reconquest of the Sudan
Talk

21 December 2018, 11.30am

FREE

Imperial trophies: Collecting on campaign during the reconquest of the Sudan

Join Nicholas Badcott as he shares his research into the trophies and souvenirs collected during the Sudan campaign of 1896-99.

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Explore 1800s learning resources

Florence and Mary
Trail

KS1 (Age 5 to 7)

Florence and Mary

Follow this gallery trail to find out about soldiers' lives during the Crimean War.

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Army and Empire
Trail

KS4-KS5 (Age 14+)

Army and Empire

Follow this gallery trail to become a documentary filmmaker exploring the British Empire in Africa.

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War and society
Trail

KS4-KS5 (Age 14+)

War and society

Follow this gallery trail to become a time-travelling war correspondent reporting on conflicts of the 19th century.

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