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Who really owns Helston's cannon from HMS Anson and should it be moved?

By WBGraeme  |  Posted: November 22, 2013

Helston's cannon with members of South Kerrier Heritage Trust John Boase, David Turnbull, Loveday Jenkin, Paul Phillips, Judith Haycock and Nicola Boase. Picture: Keith Richards.

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TALK of moving Helston’s cannon to create a new community space has prompted questions over who actually owns the iconic artillery piece.

The gun is a familiar landmark in town and guards the entrance to Helston Museum in Church Street.

At a recent meeting looking at proposals to revamp Helston town centre, it was suggested by several people that the cannon could be moved, to create a seating area or public space.

Ivan Perry asked town councillors who was responsible for the cannon, given its importance to the history of the area.

“The canon, who owns it? Be careful where you’re putting it,” he said.

The answer came form councillor John Boase, who is a trustee of the South Kerrier Heritage Trust, which took over the running of Helston Museum form Cornwall Council this year.

He said: “It is the property of Culdrose and the museum is custodian. So it is for the museum to decide what to do with it.”

The cannon was recovered by divers from RNAS Culdrose in 1964.

It was part of the armament of the warship HMS Anson, a 64-gun frigate wrecked off Loe Bar in a storm on December 29, 1807.

It is thought more than 100 sailors drowned with the loss of the Anson.

The spectacle of so many people perishing close to shore inspired Helston’s Henry Trengrouse to invent his lifesaving rocket line and breeches buoy.

The custom of dumping the bodies of shipwrecks into mass graves, as was the case with the Anson, also prompted outrage from society.

Solicitor Thomas Grylls drafted a new law setting out a more decent way to treat drowned sailors, which was introduced to parliament by Cornwall MP John Hearle Tremayne in 1808.

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