CRIMEAN CANNONS - WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
formerly Moorhead S1 4QN
then Botanical Gardens
Sheffield Council have been accused of hiding Sheffield's Crimean War monument away for years. The monument was originally very impressive, consisting of a tall column surmounted by a seated figure of Victory with two Russian Cannons at the base. It was originally erected by public subscription and formally unveiled in 1863. Florence Nightingale was apparently one of the subscribers. The Foundation Stone was dated 21 October 1857
The statue is a seated figure of Queen Victoria depicted as 'Honour' on a square stone base. A Birmingham based sculptor Lane created this. George Goldie designed the rest of the monument. The original piece stood on its granite column as early photographs show, surrounded at its base by railings, two Crimean Cannons, a circular wall to one side topped by stone lions, and the entrance to public conveniences which were below the surface of the road.
The inscription on the base was as follows:
THIS MONUMENT IN MEMORY OF THOSE NATIVES OF SHEFFIELD WHO FELL IN THE WAR IN THE CRIMEA WAS ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION AD 1863
In 1960 changes to the road layout meant that the monument was moved from Moorhead to Sheffield's Botanical Gardens without the column, which was reportedly broken up and placed in a park. When the memorial was moved a time capsule was uncovered containing newspapers from 1857, gold coins and an engraved copper plaque bearing the names of the architect and builders. Individual blocks from the column could later be found in Hammond Street as part of a children's play area. In 2017, a small park on Addy Street in Sheffield is allegedly home to the cylindrical stone blocks that once formed the column. The figure's left hand, holding a laurel wreath, also went missing at one point.
In the Botanical Gardens the monument to Queen Victoria was rearranged so that the statue stood on top of the original base only. The stone lions on the original were too badly weathered to be installed in the Botanical Gardens. Two moulds were made from them by Chris Boulton. These were cast in bronze and can be found in Castle Square.
In 2004, the Botanical Gardens were restored to their 1836 layout and the remainder of the monument was removed to storage from which it has not yet emerged many years later. It was replaced by a fountain. Conditions attached to the listed building consent for the removal of the memorial from the Botanical Gardens are believed to have required the restoration works to be completed, and a precise location for the memorial secured, within 2 years of the Listed Building Consent approval. Failing to find a new home for the memorial means that Sheffield Council is in breach of its own Listed Building Consent.
Sheffield's Crimean war dead do not deserve to be forgotten and their monument left indefinitely in storage. That is why the Victorian Society was calling on the Council to come forward with a timescale for finding the monument a new home in time for Remembrance Day 2014.
As recently as 2015, the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg backed calls to restore to the city centre the Crimean war memorial dubbed "Sheffield's Nelson's Column", which has been languishing in storage. A spokesman for the council said: that to date neither a suitable new location nor the funding to reinstate the monument have been identified. This is a very large monument, which will need careful siting. However, the monument is being stored safely and is available to be displayed in future. Reinstating the monument would come at a significant cost. It was estimated that putting the monument back up to its original design, would today probably cost about two million pounds. The memorial is apparently being stored at Staniforth Road depot in Sheffield. It is thought the cannons were likely sold as scrap.
Acknowledgements - Some of this information has come from 'The Unseen the Unsightly and the Amusing in Sheffield' by J. Edward Vickers (1997) Hallamshire Press and from CECTAL, University of Sheffield.
England - Northern
THE FEATURES PRESENT
Crimean Cannon Location, past or present