Design for Showcase for the Crown Jewels

H.M. Office of Works1909

Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces
United Kingdom

"The Tower has been home to the Crown Jewels since the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Most of the original regalia was destroyed during the Civil War, however, and the current set of jewels was made between 1660 and 1953. Since the Restoration they have been displayed in various locations within the Tower, including the Martin Tower, the short-lived new Jewel House, and the Wakefield Tower. In 1967 a new Jewel House opened in the basement of the Waterloo Barracks. The current exhibition opened in 1994.

This design for a new showcase, dated 1909, is very imposing. It was designed by famous locksmiths, Chubb & Sons, as part of improvements to the security of the Jewel House. This came after the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels from Dublin Castle in 1907, and the presentation of the Cullinan diamond to Kind Edward VII. The diamond was a gift from the Transvaal government, and signified Britain and South Africa's healing relationship following the South African Wars.

The showcase incorporates arms, emblems and rivets in a conspicuous display of strength. The ornaments - which include Tudor roses, lions' heads and fleurs-de-lis - are drawn at full size and were to be cast in bronze. Meanwhile the halberds, which were replicas of Flemish or German weapons, were deemed 'inappropriate', and were substituted with partisans - the weapons carried by Yeoman Warders."


  • Title: Design for Showcase for the Crown Jewels
  • Creator: H.M. Office of Works
  • Date Created: 1909
  • Location Created: Tower of London
  • Type: Architectural drawing
  • Rights: © Historic Royal Palaces. Reproduced by permission of Historic Royal Palaces under licence from The National Archives.
  • Catalogue Reference: EH/TOL/1587

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