Gerald Bull’s invention could be a prime tourist attraction
It has been years, probably over a decade, since I last touched Dr. Bull’s HARP space guns rusting away on our south coast. Ten years ago the guns were rusting, but still I was shocked to see recent photos posted by Slate Magazine showing the advanced corrosion eating away at the support structures. Flakes of rust and dripping rusticles are reminiscent of photos of the Titanic as the ship returns to nature under the sea. The one gun looks positively dangerous as the frame is dripping away in rust chips and has holes eaten in the support.
Everything rusts in Bim. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t use liberal doses of WD40 and keep things painted up the salt air will eat away anything. Laptop computers seem particularly vulnerable to death by corrosion, and anyone who lives on the East (Atlantic) coast either develops a healthy respect for sea air and a preventative maintenance programme or loses all kinds of fixed assets every year. I have personally seen a car run in the surf and not washed… and it lasted another year and that was it.
So the fact that the HARP space guns are rusting is not surprising, but the rate of corrosion is accelerating as the last bits of paint flake away. What a shame to lose such history!
That brings us to the tragedy: if the HARP guns were properly marketed and displayed, I bet we could attract thousands of people a year who would be interested in the story of Gerald Bull and his guns. Barbados was an integral part of this Cold War project, and we shouldn’t forget that Dr. Bull was assassinated while working for Sadam Hussein… probably by the Israelis. That is big time interesting!
But the guns are going back to nature – all for want of a bit of paint every few years and some energy to get out and market this piece of history.
Judging by the state of the supporting structures, the guns might soon be too dangerous to allow tourists near them.
We already own this potential tourist exhibit. What’s wrong with us that we haven’t preserved it and don’t market it?
Sometimes you just have to wonder!
Slate Magazine: Abandoned Space Gun Rusting Away in the Barbados Jungle
Atlas Obscura: Project HARP Space Gun