Explore 1800s stories

Helmet plate, officer, 1st West India Regiment, c1880

The West India Regiments

Raised in the 1790s to defend Britain's Caribbean colonies, the West India Regiments fought as infantry in several campaigns. They remained a part of the British Army until disbandment in 1927.

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Bronze saker gun, 1530s

A history of the National Army Museum in a dozen donations

Most of the objects held by the National Army Museum are in public ownership because of the generosity of individuals or organisations who have donated them.

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Disinfecting plague houses with a flushing engine, 1897

The Bombay plague

In 1896, bubonic plague broke out in Bombay. The fightback against this deadly epidemic was fully documented by a British military officer in a remarkable series of photographs.

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Shako plate, 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment, c1855

40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot

This infantry unit was formed in 1717. It continued in service until the 1881 British Army reforms, when it became part of The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment).

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Glengarry badge, 82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales's Volunteers), c1874

82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales's Volunteers)

This infantry unit was raised in 1793. It continued in service until the 1881 British Army reforms, when it became part of The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment).

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The Battle of Busaco, 27 September 1810

Peninsular War

From 1808 to 1814, the British Army, aided by its Spanish and Portuguese allies, held off superior numbers of French troops before driving them out of Iberia. They then carried the war into France, playing an important part in Napoleon's first overthrow.

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Capturing the Army

Capturing the Army

Today, the Army trains specialist photographers to capture its story. But the demand for images depicting soldiers' experiences is nothing new. Here we look at some of the earliest pioneers of military photography.

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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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Explore 1800s events

Florence and Mary
Primary workshop

1 - 30 July 2020

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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Florence and Mary
SEND workshop

1 - 30 July 2020

FREE

Florence and Mary (SEND)

Find out about the work of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole and how they helped the soldiers in the Crimea.

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The Indian 'Mutiny'?
Secondary workshop

1 - 30 July 2020

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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Explore 1800s learning resources

Florence and Mary: Scavenger hunt
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Florence and Mary: Scavenger hunt

Try our at-home scavenger hunt to help Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole on their journey to the Crimea.

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How to Draw: Victorian edition
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

How to Draw: Victorian edition

Use our simple step-by step instructions to have a go at drawing Florence Nightingale, her pet owl and the ship she took to the Crimea.

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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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