View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:42 pm



Reply to topic  [ 35 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 Naval Cannon 
Author Message
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 2:32 pm
Posts: 2960
Location: Hawaii
Post Re: Naval Cannon
The London bollard blog was strangely fascinating.

I had a look at some of my UK photos. The only one that had cannon-like bollards in it was one taken from Trafalgar Square looking towards Whitehall. I guess they are the modern versions.

_________________
I have the honour to be, &c.
susan


Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:59 am
Profile YIM
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 2:32 pm
Posts: 2960
Location: Hawaii
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Martin Evans wrote:
Are there many examples of real ordnance being used as "street furniture" in countries other than the UK? (I have a few photos of Greek ones, where they seem to favour embedding them muzzle-down).

After leaving the Falls today, I was wandering around downtown Honolulu near the waterfront where there are a number of older buildings and guess what I found?

Bollards on Corner

Close-up of Cannon Bollard

Do they look like the real thing, Martin? If they are, maybe they're from the old fort.

_________________
I have the honour to be, &c.
susan


Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:56 am
Profile YIM
Lieutenant
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:48 pm
Posts: 151
Location: South Cambridgeshire, UK
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Nice photos! They look like real cannon to me, Susan. On your close-up photo there seems to be a normal sighting groove in the muzzle swell. The bore looks as though it had been filled with concrete, rather than the slightly over-sized "cannon ball" that seems to be favoured in modern UK bollards that are modelled on the traditional ML cannon shape. The real cannon that I saw around Chatham dockyard either had the bores still open, or were capped off with a welded plate of iron or steel.

I have been reading the history of the Ordnance Board, but there is no mention of old guns being used as bollards. Presumably, once the Board of Ordnance (1597-1855) or its successor, the Ordnance Board (1855-1868) had sold off surplus guns, etc, they had no interest in what uses they were put to.

Martin


Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:33 pm
Profile WWW
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 2:32 pm
Posts: 2960
Location: Hawaii
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Hi Martin,

Yes, the bores are filled with concrete. I suppose that's to keep people from throwing rubbish into it.

It's funny. I've walked by that street corner numerous times over the years and I never noticed them until now. I'll keep my eye out for more of them!

_________________
I have the honour to be, &c.
susan


Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:21 am
Profile YIM
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:02 am
Posts: 2747
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Post Re: Naval Cannon
susan wrote:
Hi Martin,


It's funny. I've walked by that street corner numerous times over the years and I never noticed them until now. I'll keep my eye out for more of them!



What an intriguing subject. I shall have to keep my eyes open more now that I have read all this!

_________________
- Mil -
aka Mary ....


Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:39 pm
Profile YIM
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 2:32 pm
Posts: 2960
Location: Hawaii
Post Re: Naval Cannon
At the risk of veering a little bit more off course, I came across this old postcard image while looking online for old images of Honolulu Harbor: Post Office, Honolulu

If you look carefully at the corner of the street, you will notice the same pair of cannon bollards that I took pictures of. I had no idea that particular building was originally the post office!

ETA: From the Library of Congress HABS/HAER site:

"Implanted at the corner of Bethel and Merchant Streets were two objects, possibly left over from the old Honolulu Fort, which often found use as hitching posts. 'Seeing two twenty-four pounder cannon lying in front of the new Post Office Building, a stranger inquired what they were intended for. He was gravely informed that they were for the use of the Postmaster General to announce the arrival and departure of the mails. One to be fired ten minutes before the opening of the general delivery and the other ten minutes before the closing of the office. The stranger walked away musing on the queer customs of Hawaii, never dreaming that the old guns were intended for corner posts.' These show clearly in early pictures of the post office corner."

_________________
I have the honour to be, &c.
susan


Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:17 am
Profile YIM
Lieutenant
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:48 pm
Posts: 151
Location: South Cambridgeshire, UK
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Do you know when the Honolulu Post Office was opened? You seem to have guessed correctly, in an earlier posting, that the guns may have come from the old fort. Maybe it was a time when obsolete muzzle-loaders were being replaced by modern rifled breech-loaders.

I had not thought about them being used as hitching posts; I had assumed that in situations such as this one they were merely to protect the corner of a building from damage by passing vehicles.

What a lovely story, about them being used as signal guns! I wonder whether the stranger was being teased ("having his leg pulled"), or was the Post Office spokesman genuinely misinformed about the proposed use of the guns. I once had a slightly deranged uncle who, when asked a question, would unhesitatingly provide an inaccurate, often highly misleading, answer. It was done quite deliberately, in a flash, just for devilment. He was my mother's half-brother, so I hope that I have not inherited any of those genes.

Martin


Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:16 pm
Profile WWW
Lieutenant
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:48 pm
Posts: 151
Location: South Cambridgeshire, UK
Post Re: Caruana, History of English Sea Ordnance
Albert Parker wrote:
Rodger, in The Command of the Ocean, cites the following, which I have not yet had an opportunity to consult:
Adrian B. Caruana, The History of English Sea Ordnance, 1523-1875, I: The Age of Evolution, 1523-1715; II: The Age of the System, 1715-1815 (Rotherfield, East Sussex, 1994-97).
Rodger's summary evaluation:
"An important work of great antiquarian erudition and practical knowledge, but unreliable in detail and largely devoid of historical analysis." Basically, to professional historians, "antiquarian" means "lots of detail, no analysis or thought"; it is one the nastiest words a historian can use about another's work.


I vaguely remember that this book by Caruana also came in for similar criticism elsewhere - perhaps it was in The Mariner's Mirror?

However, I recently bought from a dealer a paperback: British Naval Armaments, Edited by Robert D Smith. It is the proceedings of a conference at the Royal Armouries, held in 1987, and published by the Royal Armouries (when this was still at the Tower of London) in 1989. As well as a paper by Brian Lavery on carronades and the Blomefield guns, there is a 4 page paper by A B Caruana on "British Artillery Design". Much of the paper deals with the Georgian period, and Caruana has some outspoken views. Some examples:

"... after the Glorious Revolution of 1689, all Stuart office-holders were regarded with reservation at the very least and Lord Dartmouth, the Master General of the Ordnance, and Henry Sheers, the Surveyor, both ended up in the Tower. ... the Board of Ordnance was thoroughly purged and most design knowledge therefore dispersed and lost. Exactly the same happened in 1714, when Queen Anne died and George I succeeded to the throne, when even the last remnants of the knowledge of sound design were lost. British artillery design never recovered from this position since our designers made the classic error, thenceforward, of copying French design."

There is some interesting information about the mistakes made in the design and in the casting of cannon at various times in the 18th century, ending up with a grudging approval of Blomefield (Inspector of Artillery in 1780). His short paper ends with his views on Mr Monk, chief clerk of the Royal Gun Factory, who introduced new designs in 1838 for 32, 42 and 56 pdrs.

"Monk's design is remarkable in two ways: he was the first civilian gun designer and the worst of all designers. His design added both a plane of weakness in the area of greatest pressure and increased the thickness of metal beyond the point at which it had any effect. He understood neither the purpose for which he was designing, nor the material he was proposing to use."

Quite entertaining to read. This is the kind of sharp comment that one more usually associates with N A M Rodger, don't you think? :wink:

Martin


Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:57 pm
Profile WWW
Commander

Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:27 am
Posts: 389
Location: Australia
Post Re: Naval Cannon
The MM review of Carauna’s work (Vol. 1 only) by David Lyon should never have appeared in the Journal in the form that it did. Perhaps the Editor was partly to blame for this. I think that the “errors of detail” were mainly in Volume 1, the early years of which are somewhat sparse in provable facts and historians like to make their own interpretations of those that exist.
Perhaps part of the critical attitude of some historians to Caruana’s volumes lies in the fact that Caruana was a gunner, not an historian, and wrote from a gunner’s point of view. There are certainly some errors in the work, and it could have been better organized, but it is unique in its scope, full of interesting comments and a pleasure to read. It is a pity Caruana died before being able to finish Volume 3.


Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:15 am
Profile
Lieutenant
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:48 pm
Posts: 151
Location: South Cambridgeshire, UK
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Thanks, Ionia, for those interesting comments. I have not yet seen Caruana's two books, and in any case I would not be qualified to judge them.

David Lyon was himself well known for his intolerance of errors (and similar faults!) in others. He died, far too young, at about the time my interests were moving into maritime history. My wife and I were able to go to the memorial service for him, in the Chapel of Kings College Cambridge (either he or his wife was a Fellow there). Amazing turnout of the great and famous. There seem to have been some witty and amusing recollections of him, told during the memorial service (as so often happens) but the acoustics for speech inside the chancel of Kings Chapel are so awful that my wife and I could not make out anything that was being said about him....

I had not realized that Caruana has now also died. I must seek out his books and educate myself a bit better.

Martin


Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:20 pm
Profile WWW
Lieutenant
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:48 pm
Posts: 151
Location: South Cambridgeshire, UK
Post Re: Naval Cannon
To return to the matter of old cannon re-used as bollards, I have put up my "essay" on this topic.

I wrote it primarily to deal with the belief, popular among some Londoners, that the bollards in that city originated in French cannon captured at Trafalgar. I have tried to persuade people that this must be a myth and I have presented my evidence against it. However, I have also tried to cover some of the ground about re-cycled SBML guns in general, with links to the many web-sites and blog pages that I have found so far, with images of bollards that are, or might be, old guns. Also some of my own photos of bollards around Chatham Historic Dockyard that are certainly old cannon.

So far I have confined it to cannon-bollards in the British Isles. I hope later to extend it to other examples such as Susan's photos of the guns in Honolulu and some photos of guns in Crete. It is "work in progress" and I welcome criticism and additional information.

Martin


Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:38 pm
Profile WWW
Commander

Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:27 am
Posts: 389
Location: Australia
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Thank you for putting up that essay - very interesting.


Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:39 pm
Profile
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:02 am
Posts: 2747
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Post Re: Naval Cannon
I was staying in Exmouth this past weekend, and visited Exeter. I didn't see any cannon bollards but could not fail to notice the cannon outside the Customs House on the old quay.

Exeter Customs House.

_________________
- Mil -
aka Mary ....


Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:46 am
Profile YIM
Lieutenant
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:48 pm
Posts: 151
Location: South Cambridgeshire, UK
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Many thanks, Mary, for that interesting link to Exeter. Again one learns that obsolete SBML guns were used as bollards for a time, and again, many of these were taken for scrap iron during the 1939-45 war. Blackmore mentions this in his book - lots of the cannon-bollards outside the Tower of London went for "War Effort" scrap iron. We must try to encourage the preservation of the few that remain in use, recycled into useful bollards during the nineteenth century.

I will add the Exeter link to other links in my "essay".

Martin


Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:20 pm
Profile WWW
Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:02 am
Posts: 2747
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Post Re: Naval Cannon
Martin Evans wrote:
Many thanks, Mary, for that interesting link to Exeter. Again one learns that obsolete SBML guns were used as bollards for a time, and again, many of these were taken for scrap iron during the 1939-45 war. Blackmore mentions this in his book - lots of the cannon-bollards outside the Tower of London went for "War Effort" scrap iron. We must try to encourage the preservation of the few that remain in use, recycled into useful bollards during the nineteenth century.

I will add the Exeter link to other links in my "essay".

Martin



I'm pleased that the link was useful, Martin.

_________________
- Mil -
aka Mary ....


Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:35 pm
Profile YIM
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 35 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.