Armouries' commercial wing snapped up in deal

The government is to take over the commercial catering and events arm of the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds after a £11.2m deal.

Date: 20th January 2018. Picture James Hardisty. East Meets West at the Royal Armouries Leeds. Pictured Royal Armouries interpreters David Perry, as a Samurai Warrior, with Andrew Balmforth, as a Knight.

It was announced yesterday that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Royal Armouries (International) plc (RAI) have reached an agreement for the sale of its shareholding, on behalf of the Royal Armouries (RA). RAI assets include the cafe and catering elements, events business and car park.

The business will continue to trade and continue in its existing form, with all current bookings being honoured.

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The acquisition will enable the Royal Armouries museum to take ownership of the commercial side and unify the site’s operations.

Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “This deal begins a new chapter for the Royal Armouries, bringing the museum and commercial arms together to evolve the full offer of this fantastic cultural institution in the heart of Yorkshire.”

Directors of RAI, which have been involved in the site since items moved from the Tower of London to Leeds in 1996, are to step aside.

Managing director of RAI, James Vincent said: “The directors of RAI have been involved at Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds for over 20 years.

“It is now the right time for the catering, corporate hospitality and event arm to be brought closer to the museum and for the directors to stand to one side.

“We wish the RAI team and this wonderful national museum, here in the north of England every success for the future.”

Lord Richard Dannatt, the chairman of the Royal Armouries board of trustees, added: “The Royal Armouries museum has established a very strong cultural presence within the North of England over the past 20 years.

“I am delighted with this landmark deal for the Royal Armouries which will enable it to continue to flourish and grow for many years to come.

“I extend my deep thanks to the DCMS for their commitment and support and to the outgoing directors of the Royal Armouries International for their contribution to our story in Leeds.”

It is believed the deal will help to further support cultural activity in the city.