War hero in fresh glory - Boer battle cannon, shifted from New Market, restored at Town Hall

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  • Published 11.03.08

The Boer War cannon that had been lying in neglect in the New Market rotunda for over 60 years now stands restored.

The 75-mm cannon, which the British crown had presented to the Calcutta Corporation in 1905, was shifted to the Town Hall two years ago for restoration.

It was part of the armaments that the British had seized after defeating the Boers in the 1898-1902 war.

“We had first approached a renowned restorer, who demanded lakhs for the job. Calcutta Museum Society then did the restoration for Rs 16,500,” said municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is the president of the society.

Post-restoration, the maker’s logo on the gun is visible again. It states that the gun was manufactured in 1897 by Krupp, a German company that has closed down.

Resting on its teakwood wheels, the cannon nozzle can now be manoueuvred and moved up and down.

Dipankar Sinha, the town planning director in the civic body, said the cannon was first placed at Market Square (now Chaplin Square), opposite the Calcutta Municipal Corporation headquarters.

It was later shifted to the entrance of the grand staircase of the civic headquarters where it remained till the early 1940s. During the Calcutta riots in the late 1940s, the hall leading to the staircase was converted into police barracks, prompting the authorities to shift it to New Market.

The cannon is believed to be the fourth extant piece of the 19th Century Krupp gun found anywhere in the world. The other three are exhibited as war memorials in Australia, Canada and South Africa.