HISTORY enthusiast Elaine Humphries is on an explosive mission to bring one of Rotherham’s famous cannons to Clifton Park.
Elaine, chairwoman of Friends of Clifton Park, has corresponded with Prince Charles and the Royal Armouries in her quest to bring a third cannon made by the renowned Walker family home to Rotherham.
One Walker Cannon stands outside the Town Hall and another inside Riverside House, and Elaine wants to put one in pride of place at Clifton Park Museum, which was once the family home.
And after a failed two-year search, Elaine (pictured, below) is appealing for help and believes one of the historic cannons, which played their part at the Battle of Trafalgar, could even be lurking in someone’s garden.
She said: “The Walkers were a leading family in Rotherham, they were industrialists and they made cannons that were sent all over the world in the 1700s and 1800s.
“The factory used to be near the canal in Holmes.
“They used to have special days there where people would go and set the cannons off — residents were doing it for entertainment but the makers used it to see if there were any faults.”
Faulty cannons were often used as street bollards and instead of melting them down many were sent to London.
“They used to put them in the ground with a cannon ball on top,” said Elaine.
Clifton House was built in 1783 for Joshua and Susannah Walker and became Rotherham’s municipal museum in 1893.
“The Walker family has gradually died out but these cannons are all over the world — Edinburgh Castle, the Tower of London, Australia, the Caribbean Islands,” said Elaine.
“Rotherham has only got two — one outside the Town Hall and one at Riverside House — but I want one at Clifton Park.
“It’s important to me to have one there because the museum used to be one of the Walker’s residences.”
In her quest to bring a cannon back to the town, Elaine contacted the Royal Armouries and Prince Charles.
“I asked him if there was anywhere he could recommend that I looked for one,” she said.
But Elaine received a letter back from Clarence House telling her the prince was unable to help.
“Before I fall off my perch, I want a cannon,” said Elaine. “It’s important because we have only got two in Rotherham and I think we deserve more as they were all manufactured in Rotherham.
“I am appealing to people to contact me if they have any idea where I can try next or if anyone has any — perhaps people have them as an ornament in their garden?”
Elaine said installing a cannon at Clifton Park would be the “icing on the cake” after its recent refurbishments.
If you can help, email ElaineHumphries1234@gmail.com.
More the 80 Walker cannons were mounted on Admiral Nelson’s flagship Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Walker cannons have turned up in South America, Antigua, Australia, Quebec, Tobago and even St Helena in the South Atlantic.
According to the History Home website, the Samuel Walker Company employed up to 1,000 people at its peak and, by 1795, was making 22,000 cannons a year.
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