Object Title

40 pr cannon barrel - Taku Fort Gun

40 pr cannon barrel - Taku Fort Gun



Object Number



Captured in the attack on the on the Taku Forts. Loaned to 49 Regt Artillery, Thirsk, Yorks, before being moved to Fort Nelson.

Physical Description

The face of the muzzle is very broad, (the gun being very large compared to the diameter of its bore) and is slightly convex. At the edge of the muzzle is a simple step moulding, behind which is a plained flared muzzle. The base ring, vent field astragal, first and second reinforce rings and muzzle astragal are all semi-circular central mouldings flanked by simple flat fillets, the mouldings varying only in size.

The cascable has two broad concentric panels, ogee curved. The outer panel contains scrolling foliate fronds, in relief, interspersed by four large chrysanthemoid flowers. The inner panel has a radiating repeating design of a scrolling leaf. The large cascable button is of flattened spherical form, projecting at the rear to a very shallow cone. The heavy trunnions are stepped and the end of each has, in relief, a Chinese design consisting of four rectangles joined to form two pairs by two vertical bars, which pass through a longer horizontal bar which separates the upper and lower rectangles. Each of the two upper rectangles is surmounted by a Chinese character: Above and below this central design is a stylised floral motif and flanking it are two butterflies, all cut in relief.

A number of small square iron plugs are visible on the surface of the gun, remains of the rods which held the mould core in place while the barrel was being cast.

The right side of the first reinforce has a long inscription in Chinese characters and on the left another in script,(possibly Mandarin). (Neither inscription has yet been translated except that the date 1856 has been read). The second reinforce has two inscriptions dot-punched into its surface: On the left side is HBMS CORMORANT and on top is HBMG NIMROD. On the right side VICTORIA is engraved, broad open downstrokes in this inscription being filled with punched dots. On the vent patch is a rectangular brass plate marked 42 over RA ESTATE


Dimensions: Length: 9ft 11.5 in (119.5 in), Length overall: 11 ft 22.5 in (154 in)


Serial Number None visible


6.75 in


Places China


The guns were captured in the attack on the Taku Forts at the mouth of the Yung-Tin-Ho River,guarding the river route to Peking. The date 20th May 1858, which is borne by XIX.333 is the date of this attack. The 'Cormorant' whose name also appears on this gun, later became a total loss in the second Opium War. It seems likely that ' Nimrod' took on the task of returning 'Cormorant's' stores.