Raised, restored and relocated: Shipwrecked cannon takes centre stage

September 6, 2018 by Southend Borough Council

A two-tonne cannon, from the shipwreck of the London, which exploded in 1665 at the Nore, just past where the Pier now stands, has been raised, restored and relocated to Southend Central Museum.

The cannon will be a central part of a new exhibition, due to open on 22 September, which features artefacts aplenty from the historic wreck.  The 24-pounder was originally plundered from a Dutch shipwreck, some time later being installed on the London.

It was common in the 17th Century for the British and Dutch navies to steal each other’s cannons. Casting in brass was so expensive that it would be better to plunder a wreck as it was sinking than to wait until the cannons hit the seabed.

The London, whose tragic end featured in Samuel Pepys’ diary, was a 76-gun ship belonging to the Royal Navy.

Councillor Lesley Salter, cabinet member for healthy communities and wellbeing said, “The London exhibition is testament not only to 17th century seafaring, but to all those who lost their lives in the 1665 explosion. Although 24 people escaped unscathed, some 300 died, including women who had come aboard to visit their family members whilst the ship was docked at the Nore.

“Moving the delicate, yet weighty historic cannon in to position in Southend’s Central Museum took care, skill and patience, and I would like to thank all involved in allowing us to share this piece of local and national naval history with the public, through our upcoming exhibition.”