The King's Own Royal Border Regiment was formed in 1959 from an amalgamation of the King's Own Royal Regiment and The Border Regiment. The museum tells the story of the KORBR and its forbears as far back as the Fourth, or King's Own, Foot Regiment of 1680.
The upstairs level tells the earlier part of this history, and is stuffed to the gunwales with a vast array of fascinating artefacts, from intricate models showing the deployment of opposing forces at some of the famous engagements in which the Regiment has been involved, to samples of cartridges used in India that were greased with either cow or pig fat, thereby managing to alienate Hindu and Muslim sepoys alike, and providing the final spark for the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Downstairs there are a range of mocked-up scenes from 20th century conflicts, along with displays of contemporary artefacts. This space is very different from upstairs, and I feel that the museum is unbalanced as a result. The upstairs level houses a huge number of very interesting artefacts which are well explained and which offer an insight into conflicts that many visitors, myself included, know about much less well than the more recent World Wars. Unfortunately there is so much to see that the space is quite cramped and is not laid out in any obvious, logical order, which could be a little overwhelming for some visitors.
Downstairs, a great deal of space is taken up with mocked up scenes such as a trench from WWI which, while interesting, most visitors might already be familiar with - at least more so than with, for example, the 1811 Peninsular War described upstairs. Certainly, while I spent a good deal of time upstairs, and could have easily stayed longer still, I had looked around the downstairs section in fifteen minutes. The museum would be much improved by spreading the many interesting artefacts it contains, from conflicts of all eras, more evenly around the available floor space and giving them the room to be fully appreciated.
That said, this is still a fascinating little museum and thoroughly recommended, especially as entry is included with a ticket for Carlisle Castle, in the grounds of which it is located, and which is itself well worth a visit.
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