London is full of interesting and unique landmarks, but have you ever noticed the bollards scattered throughout the city? These odd-looking posts actually have a fascinating history. According to legend, many of London’s bollards were once cannons that were repurposed for a new use.
Despite being replaced over the years, some of these bollards still remain and have quite a sensational history. In this article, readers will discover the intriguing story behind London’s cannon bollards, including where to find them and practical information for visiting.
- London’s bollards were once cannons that were repurposed for a new use.
- Some of these bollards still remain and have a sensational history.
- This article will explore the history of London’s cannon bollards, where to find them, and practical information for visiting.
The History of London’s Cannon Bollards
Why Use Cannons as Bollards?
London’s cannon bollards have a unique history that dates back to the mid-1800s. At that time, ironclad warships were replacing the humble cannon, leading to the decommissioning of many cannons. However, the sailors docking in London had a smart idea to repurpose these spare cannons as bollards. By upending a cannon, sticking it in the ground, and welding a cannonball onto the top of the muzzle, they could tether their boats to the shore.
The Trafalgar Guns
Legend has it that some of the cannon bollards on the Southbank were actually captured from the French during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The story goes that after capturing 21 of the enemy’s 33 ships, the British sailors found that the guns on board were too big for their ships. To make the most of their haul, they used the captured weapons to decorate their Southbank waterfront mooring. However, recent evidence suggests that it is unlikely that the cannon bollards on the Southbank actually came from the Battle of Trafalgar.
What Really Happened?
While the true origin of London’s cannon bollards may be hidden behind years of Chinese whispers, it is clear that many of the bollards on the Southbank were old cannons at one point in time. Some of them are unmistakable, and a few have even been dug up and examined in recent years. Although many of the cannon bollards have since been replaced, their shape served as the template for later iterations of London bollards. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, after all.
In conclusion, London’s cannon bollards have a fascinating history that dates back to the mid-1800s. The sailors docking in London had a smart idea to repurpose spare cannons as bollards, and the shape of these makeshift cannon bollards served as the template for later iterations of London bollards. Although the true origin of the cannon bollards on the Southbank may be hidden behind years of Chinese whispers, their unique history makes them a beloved part of London’s landscape.
Where to Find the London Cannon Bollards
London boasts two famous cannon bollards, the Trafalgar gun and the French cannon. The Trafalgar gun is located near the Globe Theatre on Bankside, a few meters off the west side of the Southwark Bridge. It is a long and thin cannon that has been the subject of much debate among historians. The French cannon, on the other hand, can be found outside the church of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate. While it is believed to be of French origin, it is not thought to have been used in the Battle of Trafalgar.
London’s Cannon Bollards: Practical Information
- Location: Beside Southwark Bridge, outside St. Helen’s Bishopsgate Church
- Purpose: To prevent vehicle access to pedestrian areas
- Appearance: Large metal cylinders with decorative features
- History: Installed in response to terrorist attacks in London in the early 2000s
- Maintenance: Regularly checked and cleaned by local authorities