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The start of the Crimean War in 1853 provided the impetus for a diversification into the manufacture of armaments, and Armstrong, an industrialist, became a key figure in the design of field guns. In 1854, during the Crimean War, Armstrong learned about the difficulties the British Army experienced in manoeuvring its heavy field guns. He decided to design a lighter, more mobile field gun, with greater range and accuracy. He built a breech-loading gun with a strong, rifled barrel made from wrought iron wrapped around a steel inner lining, designed to fire a shell rather than a ball. In 1855 he had a five-pounder ready for inspection by a government committee. The gun proved successful in trials, but the committee thought a higher calibre gun was needed, so Armstrong built an 18-pounder on the same design. Later, after he was titled Baron Armstrong of Cragside in the County of Northumberland, he started his last great project in 1894. It was the purchase and restoration of the huge Bamburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast. This remains in the hands of the Armstrong family.
It was the technological development of cannons by Armstrong that led to the obsolescence of the cannon with cannon balls. Russian cannon brought back from the Crimea were redundant as useful armaments as a result. Hence the distribution of Crimean Cannon as memorials to the fallen to the towns and villages where they were sought.
A number of cannon are identified as located at Bamburgh. In spite of the obvious connection with the Crimean War, we are advised that all the cannons in the collection predate the war.
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