South Ayrshire Council has this week removed the historic iron cannon that had been sitting inside Girvan’s Stumpy tower.
The cannon dates back almost 500 years but had fallen into a state of serious disrepair over the past few years.
Weather damage caused a drip through the ceiling which meant that the cannon was simply left to rot.
Council workmen removed the cannon last Wednesday, December 4, just ahead of Girvan’s Christmas street party on Friday night, where Santa’s grotto was positioned on the night.
The council says it has responded to local concerns about the condition of the cannon and is now looking at moving it somewhere more permanent.
Mike Newall, South Ayrshire Council’s head of neighbourhood services, said: “Responding to local concerns on the deterioration of the cannon at Stumpy tower in Girvan, we’ve removed it as the environment in the tower was accelerating the problem.
“We will now consider the options for long-term preservation of the cannon.
“In the meantime, the additional space created at Stumpy tower gives us the opportunity to work with local people to refresh the exhibits and displays there, helping to make this corner of Girvan an even more interesting and informative spot for residents and visitors alike.”
The campaign to keep the cannon in proper condition has been led by the Girvan and District Attractions Committee and in particular Girvan resident and committee member David Young.
He told the Gazette back in 2011 about his concerns for the future of the cannon.
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 past five years to find somewhere for it.
He added: “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 past 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 antiques 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.”
The cannon was brought to Girvan by William Andrews in 1869 who had been working at the Suez Canal in Egypt.
In the summer of 1992, following an inquiry 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 Stumpy tower where it has been eventually moved from by the council this week.