The National Trust looking into vandalism of historic South Tyneside landmark
The National Trust are looking to plan a clean-up operation after vandals target a piece of South Tyneside’s military history.
The trust has been made aware of a recent incident of vandalism to the Disappearing Gun at Trow Point, which has been left covered in graffiti.
The historic landmark, which sits on Trow Rocks Beach in South Shields, is what remains of an innovative experiment in gun technology in the 19th Century.
Designed by Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, it was first placed there in 1887 when the Army was experimenting with coastal defences.
The original concrete housing remains, but the gun in position today is a replica, put there in 1987 to commemorate the centenary of the gun trial.
In May this year plans that would have seen the landmark redeveloped, as part of a £2.9 million Tyne-to-Tees waterfront regeneration project, were shelved.
Leaders of the six-year Seascape scheme admitted to having to prioritise other elements of the project, which aims to inspire the public to discover the North East coastline’s history, geology and environment.
The gun was last restored in 2015, by a group of Territorial Army soldiers as part of a community engagement project.
Members of the 205 (3 DvA) battery in South Shields spent two days cleaning and repairing the gun, with materials provided by the National Trust.
However, residents have become concerned that it has since fallen into a state of disrepair.
One Gazette reader came across the landmark covered in graffiti, he said: “I was down the seafront with my son, we went up to Trow point cannon as we call it, and were shocked to see who ever own this have left it get in such a sorry state.”
He added: “A South Shields iconic innovative experiment left to rot to its death. An accident waiting to happen, it’s disgraceful, definitely worth restoring.”
A National Trust spokesperson commented: “We are assessing the damage caused and will look to plan a clean-up operation once we know the extent.”