New lease of life for city’s 220-year old cannons

Two cast-iron sea service cannons dating back to 1798 and originally used aboard ship Richard and Harriet who sent them to Garibaldi for his campaign to unite Italy will be conserved so they can continue to stand guard outside the Hull Maritime Museum.

The original cannons will be conserved to renew their aged coatings. They originally stood outside the museum in Pickering Park since 1912 and have been outside the entrance of the Maritime Museum since its opening in 1974.

As part of the Hull Yorkshire Maritime City project and the volunteer conservation programme, funded by Hull City Council and Heritage Lottery Fund, the original cannons are being conserved, led by Philippa Beesley, Conservation and Engagement Officer along with a team of seven volunteers.

The cannons will be moved from outside the Maritime Museum for the important work will be undertaken. The conservation team will strip back the old paint in order to treat the ferrous metal surface with a rust converter before re-painting the cannons using a conservation grade paint to protect them from the elements. The carriages will also be re-painted and any areas of wood loss will be filled. Once completed, the cannon will return to their current home outside the Hull Maritime Museum.

Philippa Beesley, Conservation and Engagement Officer, said: “This is a really special project to be able to conserve the cannons and preserve their significance.

“There are currently large areas of loss to the painted surface of the barrels exposing the metal beneath to the atmosphere, and there is some corrosion visible. Working with the volunteers we will use a specialist treatment to ensure they are retained for years to come in their well-known stance outside the museum entrance.”

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration, Planning, Land and Property, said: “This is a fascinating project for the team to undertake. The cannon have been in pride of place at the Hull Maritime Museum. They are popular with visitors so it is important we give them some TLC they deserve. This conservation has been made possible from the support of the Yorkshire Maritime City programme, funded by the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, ensuring we can continue to invest in our historic artefacts and items.”

The cannons were moved from Queen Victoria Square on Monday 13 August and it is hoped the work will be completed later this year.