Phil Loder visits the IWM in London and finds a museum packed with more than a century of military history

The old Bethlem Royal Hospital with the two 15-inch naval guns outside

Many readers will have been to the Imperial War Museum in London in the past, but like me, may not have visited for a while. The museum is located south of the River Thames, around a mile from the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye, housed in the old Bethlem Royal Hospital building with the two 15-inch naval guns mounted in front.

The proposal for a National War Museum was approved in 1917, while World War One was still being fought, and the initial collection was put on display at the Crystal Palace in 1920. Renamed the Imperial War Museum due to interest among the governments of the then Dominions, it was relocated to South Kensington in 1924, then moved again to the current site in Lambeth in 1936.

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