This is a museum dedicated to the Foot Guards (Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards and Scots, Welsh and Irish Guards). The Grenadier Guards trace their lineage back to 1656, when Lord Wentworth's Regiment was raised in Bruges, in the Spanish Netherlands (present-day Belgium), where it formed a part of exiled King Charles II's bodyguard. A few years later, a similar regiment known as John Russell's Regiment of Guards was formed. In 1665, these two regiments were combined to form the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, consisting of 24 companies of men. Throughout the 18th century, the regiment took part in a number of campaigns including the War of Spanish Succession, the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the regiment gained the name "Grenadier" in July 1815 following a Royal Proclamation. This was the result of a mistaken belief that the unit had defeated the Grenadiers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard at the Battle of Waterloo, whereas they had actually engaged the Chasseurs of the Middle Guard, who wore bearskin caps similar to the Grenadiers of the Guards. They are the most senior of the Foot Guards.
The origin of The Coldstream Guards lies in the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell gave Colonel George Monck permission to form his own regiment as part of the New Model Army. Monck took men from the regiments of George Fenwick and Sir Arthur Haselrig, five companies each, and on 23 August 1650 formed Monck's Regiment of Foot. Less than two weeks later this force took part in the Battle of Dunbar, at which the Roundheads defeated the forces of Charles Stuart. After Richard Cromwell's abdication, Monck gave his support to the Stuarts, and on 1 January 1660 he crossed the River Tweed into England at the village of Coldstream, from where he made a five-week march to London. He arrived in London on 2 February and helped in the Restoration of the monarchy. For his help, Monck was given the Order of the Garter and his regiment was assigned to keep order in London. However, the new parliament soon ordered his regiment to be disbanded with the other regiments of the New Model Army. Before that could happen, Parliament was forced to rely on the help of the regiment against the rebellion by the Fifth Monarchists led by Thomas Venner on 6 January 1661. The regiment successfully defeated the rebels and on 14 February the men of the regiment symbolically laid down their arms as part of the New Model Army and were immediately ordered to take them up again as a royal regiment of The Lord General's Regiment of Foot Guards, a part of the Household Troops
The Scots Guards trace their origins back to 1642 when, by order of King Charles I, the regiment was raised by Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll for service in Ireland, and was known as the Marquis of Argyll's Royal Regiment. It spent a number of years there and performed a variety of duties, but in the mid-1640s, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the regiment took part in the fight against James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose who was fighting on the side of Charles I. The Irish Guards regiment was formed on 1 April 1900 by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate the Irishmen who fought in the Second Boer War for the British Empire. During the First World War, 1st Battalion, The Irish Guards was deployed to France, and they remained on the Western Front for the duration of the war. During 1914 and early 1915, they took part in numerous battles, including Mons, Marne and Ypres. During 1916, The Irish Guards were involved in the Battle of the Somme where they received severe casualties. In 1917 they participated in the Third Battle of Ypres and Cambrai. They fought up to the final days of the war including attacking the Hindenburg Line. During the entire war, The Irish Guards lost over 2,300 officers and men, including John Kipling, son of Rudyard Kipling. The Welsh Guards came into existence on 26 February 1915 by Royal Warrant of His Majesty King George V in order to include Wales in the national component to the Foot Guards, "..though the order to raise the regiment had been given by the King to Earl Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, on 6 February 1915." They were the last of the Guards to be created, with the Irish Guards coming into being in 1900. Just three days later the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards mounted its first King's Guard at Buckingham Palace on 1 March 1915 – St David's Day. The museum has disabled access via a lift.
Location : Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk SW1E 6HQ
Opening Times: Daily 10:00 to 16:00.
Tickets : Adults £6.00, Concessions £3.00
Children (under 16) Free
Tel: 020 7414 3271