Old gun for new building project

Archaeologists on site are cleaning the rust off the metal gun.

A 9.2 inch disappearing metal gun emplacement and gun carriage used in the 1880s by the British army was unearthed in Battery Crescent, Sea Point.

The battery, which was a large coastal defence emplacement, was built to fortify the colonies but by 1922 it was considered redundant and sold off by the Department of Defence for a property development to be known as Battery Estate.

Knowledge of the battery was essentially lost to following generations until the 21st century which saw either modernisation or demolition of old homes that were built on the site.

Erf 1077, known as 8 Battery Crescent was a modern home which had a swimming pool over the area the gun was placed.

Stan Evans, director of Royal African Projects, a development company and owner of the property, said: “We bought this land to develop and we knew there was some historical gun emplacements underneath the site. We are going to incorporate it into the design of the building.”

Mr Evans said idea was to have a wine cellar or a cigar bar.

Tim Hart, principal investigator at ACO Associates, archaeologist and heritage specialists, spoke about the history of the gun.

“We knew it was a gun, we just did not know how many pieces were left of the gun.”

He said most of the guns around the world – similar to this one – had all been demolished. “The gun has a hydraulic mechanism which raised the barrel to the top of the pit, which was covered by a shield, only the top part of the gun would stick out to fire and would go back in and gunners would reload it which would take about a minute. The gun could swivel as it has wheels,” he said.

Ward 54 councillor Shayne Ramsay said she did not know about the gun and was only made aware of it once the demolition started.

Heritage Western Cape did not respond to queries by this edition went to print.