Town Mouse

Fire­power fail­ure

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE sun­shine this week turned a visit to Wool­wich Arse­nal into an un­ex­pect­edly de­light­ful out­ing. It’s a dis­trict in the process of to­tal trans­for­ma­tion as a for­est of new tower blocks rises up around the re­cently re­de­vel­oped his­toric arse­nal build­ings. The tow­ers grow like vig­or­ous plants, the main shoot of each con­crete ser­vice core ris­ing up and then burst­ing into fully fledged con­struc­tion. Pre­sum­ably, much of this ac­tiv­ity is en­cour­aged by the ope-ning of a Cross Rail Sta­tion next year.

In view of the prosperity to come, it’s sad that one in­sti­tu­tion hasn’t lasted long enough to ben­e­fit. In the mid­dle of the arse­nal is the Royal Ar­tillery Mu­seum, Fire­power, which opened here in 2001. Scat­tered around the arse­nal, and pre­sum­ably from its col­lec­tion, is a weird and won­der­ful as­sem­blage of mil­i­tary hard­ware, in­clud­ing a large tank and a can­non cast in Dres­den in 1733. I had heard about the mu­seum’s clo­sure ear­lier this year, in part the vic­tim of MOD cuts. Nev­er­the­less, it was both dis­ap­point­ing and melan­choly to be con­fronted with the sealed front door, bear­ing no­tices that de­clared this rel­a­tively new mu­seum build­ing ‘per­ma­nently closed’. To my shame, I had never vis­ited and, now, I won’t have the chance. JG

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