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Power House, Tower of London

The Royal Mint Museum contributed to a new permanent exhibition opened on the top floor of the White Tower in April 2011, illuminating the roles of some of the great institutions of state that have been housed in the Tower of London.

As well as the Royal Mint they include the Ordnance Office, Ordnance Survey, Record Office, Jewel House, Menagerie and Royal Observatory. The exhibition also highlights other Tower of London functions, ranging from royal residence to state prison.

There are some fascinating stories – including the tale of William Foxley, potmaker for the Royal Mint, who fell asleep for 14 days and 15 nights. He was viewed as a curiosity and was prodded, poked and burned in an effort to rouse him. Even Henry VIII visited the Tower to witness the ‘spectacle’ for himself.

Engineers at the Royal Mint built for the exhibition a screw press of 18th-century style using contemporary reference material, including engravings, drawings and paintings. They have succeeded in re-creating a piece of Royal Mint machinery not seen in the Tower for 200 years.

For more information visit the Tower of London website.