South Scotland

'Waterloo drum' on display at Wanlockhead mining museum

Wanlockhead Museum Image copyright Gerard Godfrey
Image caption The Battle of Waterloo exhibition is in place at the Museum of Lead Mining in Wanlockhead

A small museum in Scotland's highest village is beating its own drum in celebration of its close connections with the Battle of Waterloo.

Ahead its bicentenary next month, a special exhibition in Wanlockhead showcases the area's links with the bloody conflict.

At the centre of the display at the Museum of Lead Mining is a regimental drum used in the battle 200 years ago.

It also features weapons, ammunition and newspaper articles.

Gerard Godfrey, who created the exhibition, said the drum was given to the Wanlockhead Miners' Library in 1820 by Lieutenant John Bramwell.

Bramwell had fought at the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815, two days before Waterloo.

He was badly injured and had his legs amputated. He was invalided out of the army and came to settle in Sanquhar.

Image copyright Gerard Godfrey
Image caption A regimental drum is at the centre of the exhibition

However, it is not known how he came to be in possession of the drum.

Mr Godfrey said: "The Battle of Waterloo had been seen by contemporaries as a great victory over the tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte and souvenirs were highly prized.

"The Miners' Library was probably the only institution in the area where this relic of the battle could be safeguarded for posterity.

"The drum, as you would expect, is in a very fragile condition."

Other artefacts shown in the display are a cavalry sabre found in the attic of the Old Post Office in Leadhills in 2004.

Mr Godfrey said: "Although similar, this sabre is a much later version of those used at Waterloo. It is slightly heavier, has a longer blade and better protection for the soldier's hand."

Lead was a significant metal in military artillery in the 1800s and the area's mines, rich in the substance, were an important source.

"In the 19th century there was a direct link between the battlefield and the lead mines at Wanlockhead and Leadhills," said Mr Godfrey.

"Lead was used to manufacture munitions and the musket balls on display illustrate this lethal use of lead."

Image copyright Gerard Godfrey
Image caption A cavalry sabre is also on display as part of the exhibition

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites