Lawrence gets his dream job—as a Beefeater at the Tower of London
PUBLISHED: 18:25 02 April 2016 | UPDATED: 01:20 03 April 2016
Lawrence Watts has got his “dream job” as part of the living history at the Tower of London by being recruited as its latest Beefeater.
The 41-year-old will learn word-for-word “the Story” over the next few months—the script of the famous Yeoman Warder tour—before being allowed to lead a tour himself.
He must also become familiar with each of the 21 duties that Yeoman Warders carry out daily, such as answering historical questions, helping visitors and having their photograph taken.
“I’ve always been fascinated with history,” he said. “I’ve already learnt a-thousand things I didn’t know before.
“Now I’ve got the mammoth task of learning 900 years of The Tower’s history. Very few people have a chance to be a part of living history—so this is a dream job.”
All good beefeaters, of course, have to learn to handle the ravens with care—legend has it the Tower of London would collapse and the kingdom fall if all the ravens ever leave. Then there are traditions such as the Ceremony of the Keys, which has been carried out each night for at least 700 years.
Lawrence has completed 23 years in the Army, serving with the Royal Corp of Signals in Northern Ireland, Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, then working in security before joining the band of 36 Beefeaters who live at the royal castle with their families.
The traditional Beefeater descends from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners early in The Tower’s history. Modern Yeoman Warders are members of the Queen’s Bodyguard, all former warrant officers from the Armed Forces serving at least 22 years, who combine the traditional ceremonial role with a love of history to make the past come alive for tourists.