Ceremony of the Keys, London

Chief Yeoman Warder and Gaoler at the Tower of London © Nick Wilkinson/newsteam.co.uk

‘Who comes there?’ is the opening question from the sentry at 9:53pm without fail every night for the locking up of the Tower of London. A well-practiced ritual sees a series of tower gates locked up for the night. This has been a tradition for at least 700 years, previously to secure the monarch but now to protect the Crown Jewels and other royal valuables.

The only interruption to the ritual came during the Second World War, when the noise and shock of bombs during an air raid blew the Chief Yeoman Warder and escort over. Still, they dusted themselves down, carried on and apologised to King George VI for the late ceremony.

The Tower still holds the letter of apology along with the reply from the King stating the officer is not to be punished as the delay was due to enemy action. Tickets are free and need to be applied for by post. See the website for details.

Readers who enjoyed
this article also liked:

  • Bourne & Hollingsworth, London

    Try this floral-wallpapered basement bar for a good-humoured taste of the 1930s.

  • Hotel of Doom, North Korea

    The Ghostscraper. The Phantom Hotel. The ‘worst building in the history of mankind’. Which hotel building claims all these labels and more?

  • Kashgar Market, China

    Tired of never being able to find fresh goat meat at the local farmers market? Then head to the Mal Bazaar, the livestock market in Silk Road town, Kashgar.

Discuss

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close