The weather forecast is good, so what could be a better way to spend a Tuesday evening than sipping a cup of Pimms while watching a demonstration of military prowess on a cricket ground?
Just around the corner from Old Street tube station lies the main parade ground of the Honourable Artillery Company – and Tuesday will be their annual military display.
The loud explosions and gunfire also has an amusing tendency to scare the heck out of local residents who don’t know about these things. It is an annual event, but I presume housing turnover in the Hoxton and Shoreditch media land is fairly rapid as people always seem surprised by it each year.
The event is however open to the public — completely free of charge, and always worth a visit, especially to see inside the historic Armoury House and its new museum. Map link
A series of historic enactments are typically followed by some rather more aggressive displays of modern military firepower that delight children and adults alike.
Set piece displays will include:
- Guns and horses display by the Kings Troop, RHA
- A display by 17th Century Pikemen & Musketeers of the HAC
- A display by the HAC Band and Corps of Drums
- A display by the Light Cavalry HAC
There will also be a parachute drop into the main grounds – weather permitting. This was the event that went slightly wrong a couple of years ago as it was too windy, and the test parachutist landed on the main road outside, in front of a double-decker bus.
A parachute drop probably also means a huge Chinook helicopter will be in the grounds, and usually that you can have a look inside. There should also a selection of other weapons, and some tanks/armoured vehicles to have a look at climb inside if you ask nicely.
The grounds open at 5:30pm with the main events starting (if I recall correctly) from 6:30pm.
There is a pay bar (for the Pimms and beers) and free army BBQ.
Officially, this is an event to show off the Territorial Army, but the sales pitch is quite relaxed and it is a very good evening out.