Napoleonic cannons return to Bradford park
In 1871 the founder of Saltaire, Sir Titus Salt, bought two cannons which were veterans of the Napoleonic Wars as original features for his newly created Saltaire Park (renamed Robert Park in 1920) in the village. The cannons, one of which was fired during the Battle of Trafalgar, remained in the park until they were again needed by the nation – this time to be melted down for Britain’s war effort during World War II. Now, Bradford Council is celebrating this heritage by reintroducing two cannons from the 19th century to the park.
The 10ft cannons, which will replace the original cannons, bought for the park’s opening, have a fascinating history of their own.
They were produced at the Low Moor Ironworks, in Bradford in around 1846, but were never used in battle, as they were retained by the company for display at their foundry. When the foundry closed in the late 1950s the cannons went to Rotherham before returning to Bradford in the 1980s at the gates of the Bradford Council-run Industrial Museum.
The 68-pounder cannons, which were originally seated on foundry carriages, have now been professionally restored and with the help of money from the National Lottery will be seated on new specially commissioned replica military carriages.
The cannons have been grit blasted and are being painted with specialist paints to prevent any future corrosion. All the restoration work is being carried out by Ian Barrand who managed work on many restoration projects at Cartwright Hall for 30 years.
Pupils from Titus Salt School are also working on the project, producing an onsite information board and constructing the cannon ball pyramids which will used in front of the cannons.
Before the cannons take centre stage at Roberts Park they will take part in a Sneaky Peeks event in City Park on Wednesday April 18.
A special unveiling ceremony in Roberts Park will take place on Saturday April 21 as part of the park’s WWI themed celebrations for World Heritage Day. The cannons and their gun carriages will be transported to the various events by local Baildon haulage company Chris Wright (Baildon) Ltd.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sports and Culture, said, “I am fascinated by the history of both the original cannons and the two that will eventually go on display at Roberts Park, especially the local connection to the iron works at Low Moor. I am delighted that we have been able to restore this important piece of our local and national history for future generations and I would encourage everyone to come to the Sneak Peeks event in City Park and the World Heritage Day in Roberts Park. I would like to thank Chris Wright Haulage who have been so supportive of this project.”
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