11 November 2015

Jewel History: The Crown Jewels (1910)

"The Crown Jewels"
(originally appeared in the Times on 8 Nov 1910)

The Crown Jewels are again to be seen in the Tower of London after an absence of some ten months [1]. In accordance with a notice issued by the Lord Chamberlain on Saturday, the Jewel House was thrown open to the public at ten o'clock yesterday morning, and a large number of persons entered.

Changes have been made in the general structure of the room, so that there may be no chance of theft. The glass case which encloses the jewels is covered when they are not on view with a metal shield, the upper part of which is composed of riveted steel sheets.

The grille through which the people looked at the Cullinan diamond yesterday is made of tempered steel bars, set closer together than hitherto [2]. The glass can be covered with the steel casing at a moment's notice by the pressure of a button. Gongs, placed in different parts of the Tower, can be set clanging by the slightest pressure on the bars, and the same motive power will close the metal doors of the jewel room at once.


1. From the Times, 20 April 1910: "The Wakefield Tower, in which the Crown Jewels are usually kept at the Tower of London, is undergoing repairs, and they have been removed while the work is in progress. It is intended to make the tower even more secure than it has been hitherto, and close secrecy is being observed as to the nature of the work. In order to minimize the likelihood of information leaking out, only two men are engaged on the work inside, and several weeks must elapse before the jewels can again be on view to the public."

2. The Cullinans were still a new attraction at the Jewel House in November 1910. From the Times, 29 Nov 1908: "The general public had their first opportunity yesterday of inspecting the Cullinan diamonds, which are now to be seen at the Tower of London."