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[Royal Visit to Woolwich Arsenal, 1855]

Source: The Illustrated London News, Dec 8, 1855, p.675

Quitting the laboratory, their Majesties proceeded across the Arsenal yard. In this yard, after the tremendous expenditure of material to which we have just been put in order to lay Sebastopol in ruins, one would not have been surprised to have found the stocks of shot and shell rather diminished; but such was not the case. Great pyramids of shot and shelf, amounting in the aggregate to 13,000 tons weight of metal, covered the ground in all directions. Here also lay long tiers of massive ordnance, newly come from the proof-yard, and waiting their turn to be transported to the seat of war. Dwarfing all the 15-inch shells to the appearance of mere trifles were a number of great 36 inch shell, each weighing 17 cwt. uncharged. These shells are for the great mortar which is being cast by Mr. Mare, and which is to weigh 35 tons. The bursting charge for this shell will be 91 lb. of powder, and the forcing charge of the mortar 200 lb.

In this yard also were a number of curious guns, of most extraordinary forms, and some evidently of great antiquity, which were taken from the Russians in the Kertch expedition; here, also, was the 32-pounder brass field-piece, with its limber, captured by the Guards in the great battery on the heights of the Alma. The Duke of Cambridge explained to his Majesty some interesting particulars connected with the taking of this trophy. Close by this piece was a very well-formed Russian military medicine chest, taken by the Scots Greys at the Mackenzie Farm. Their Majesties examined this with much interest; it was completely stocked with drugs of all kinds, and with three sets of surgical instruments.