Caerleon Net

Caerleon Museum around 1930
Recycling of building materials isn't a new idea in Caerleon. The stone pillars in the basement of the original museum which supported the ground floor were previously part of Caerleon's old market house and believed to be Roman in origin. The pillars you see in the picture above supporting the roof were formerly a ship's masts… Mr A Golledge, a local builder, acquired them when HMS Collingwood was broken up in Newport some time around 1922.

In 1987 the new Roman Legionary Museum was opened. The only part of the old museum to survive was the façade. 'Ikey' Miles (now saldly deceased) cleared unwanted bits and pieces when the Museum was rebuilt and some portions of the masts were given a third (or fourth) lease of life. John Miles, (Ikey's son) told us "He was permitted to have the masts for fire wood providing he cut them up and removed them from the site, it took him about a week to saw them into lengths that he could carry, and move to Mill Street. We did not know the Roman pillars were ships masts at the time, they were made up of between 6 to 8 individual pieces across the diameter that were shaped and nailed together, the roman looking architrave was then nailed on top. The majority of the four pillars were burnt on Ikeys two wood burning stoves but they were really difficult to cut with a chainsaw as there were nails everywhere, the bottom of one is still in use in a Mill Street garden as a bird table"

Note: HRH Duke of York, later King George VI served on board HMS Collingwood and saw active service in 1916 at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Above HMS Collingwood
Below: Ikey Miles taking a well earned rest - sawing up the masts was hard work, it took him about a week to cut them into lengths that could be moved to his house in Mill Street.