Battle to save cannon

A HISTORIC cannon kept in Girvan is falling into a state of disrepair and could be ruined for good if money isn’t spent on it soon.

That was the warning from local resident David Young who has campaigned for South Ayrshire Council to provide funds to help restore a significant piece of the town’s history.

Weather damage to Stumpy Tower has had a knock on effect and a drip in the ceiling above the cannon is simply destroying it.

Mr Young said: “This is an important piece of Girvan’s history and if nothing is done it could go the way of the swimming pool. No Scottish museum is willing to take it as it isn’t Scottish and we’ve been trying for the last five years to find somewhere for it.”

The cannon was brought to Girvan by William Andrews in 1869, who had been working at the Suez canal in Egypt.

When the Andrews moved to 25 Knockushan Street, the cannon remained there when Girvan Town Council acquired the building.

The cannon remained in the garden of the house and the council’s park staff covered it under a small shelter.

In the summer of 1992, following an enquiry made to the Mckechnie Institute by curious visitors to Knockushan Gardens, and a report from the Tower of London, the cannon was identified as a very rare and important 15th or 16th century iron breech-loading gun of hoop and stave construction.

The gun was then moved by Girvan Community Council in August 1995 to its current resting place in Stumpy Tower.

David continued: “Girvan Attractions don’t have the funds to protect the cannon, so we need money from South Ayrshire Council. The cannon is nearly 500 years old and they’ve been told something needs to be done to protect it.

“We’ve been in discussions for the last five years with the council about what to do with the cannon, but if nothing happens soon there may no longer be a cannon left to protect. Many antique dealers have offered money for the cannon but nowhere near what it is worth.

“But this is part of Girvan’s history and deserves to be protected.”

South Ayrshire Council told the Gazette that discussions are still ongoing to agree what is the best option for the cannon.

Cath Coombs, manager, sports and leisure, libraries arts and culture said: “Officers are currently exploring a range of options to ensure that the cannon is preserved and housed in an appropriate place.

“A report on their findings will be presented to a future panel meeting of the council for elected members to consider the best way forward.”