We took part of our recent European excursion in England, and part of that time was spent at the National Firearms Centre in Leeds, formerly known as the Pattern Room. The gun collection there was started in 1631 as a repository for reference examples of British military equipment, in an effort to standardize manufacturing. The collection was housed in the Tower of London until a fire led to its relocation to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, at which time it became known as the Enfield Pattern Room and became a national firearms reference collection.
The collection moved again in 1989 and finally in 2005 it came to rest in Leeds as a part of the Royal Armouries collection. It comprises several thousand military firearms up to 40mm in bore size, designed in England and around the world. It includes both standard production weapons as well as an extraordinary number of prototypes, trials guns, and rare variants. It is the best publicly-accessible collection in the world.
We asked Jonathan Ferguson, the Curator of Firearms, to pick out an item to show you, and his choice was a very interesting early (very early!) self-indexing revolver:
As I mention in the video, we had a great time with the collection and its staff. The collection is a resource and an experience not to be overlooked if you should ever find yourself in England. We couldn’t take photos inside the collection, but you might find a couple with a bit of Google searching.