Photograph: John Beardsworth
The Tower Hamlets Trayned Bandes was formed as a reenactment unit by a small group of dedicated enthusiasts over the winter of 1988. The regiment has since gone from strength to strength and is now regarded as one of the best units in the country. Our members are dedicated to achieving maximum authenticity in both appearance and drill, whilst at the same time deriving maximum enjoyment from the experience. As we near our 25th anniversary season, we remain determined to maintain and develop these high standards.
The regiment embraces single members and family groups in equal proportions. Tower Hamlets members come from all walks of life and contrary to 17th century practice, hail from all over England. All one needs is the drive to join and a desire to enjoy the comradeship and friendly atmosphere of our regiment. The knowledge and skills of a 17th century environment will soon follow.
Our events take many forms. There is the large-scale reenactment experience of massed pitched battles, including multiple regiments, cavalry, and cannon. This is the big reenactment experience of delivering tight volleys of musket fire towards Royalist lines and advancing shoulder to shoulder with pikes charged and muskets clubbed ready to engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.
We also engage the public through living history and siege events for a range of organizations, English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces. These events are scripted in order to offer the public and sponsor maximum enjoyment and value for money. Our living history events are usually sited at period properties which we occupy along with our period tented camp. These events are often smaller and allow more room for free skirmishing, with groups as small as three or four sent out under supervision of a corporal to harass the enemy in advance of company size actions. There is also scope for character development and cameo roles for those with the inclination to take them on.
Outside of the reenactment activities for public display, the regiment organises banquets, usually out-of-season and following an authentic theme, training weekends, and events designed for the entertainment of the regiment alone (sometimes taking the form of skirmishes open only to members and with no audience).
As the Tower Hamlets Trayned Bandes, we can be recognised by our red flag with silver palm leaves and motto (the regimental trophy), as well as our dignified and professional bearing in venice (brick) red doublets and sleeveless leather buff coats.