The night before the 1831 riots, hundreds of Sledge Hammers were 'borrowed' from the Acraman's Iron Foundry in Bathurst Basin (now Bristol General Hospital). These hammers were used during the riots to break down the doors of the four prisons in Bristol. The day after the riots, all but two of these hammers were returned. This fact, at the time, was used as evidence of prior planning by the "mob".
The hammers were recreated for the Bristol Radical History Week 2006 exhibition by Jasper Johns at his forge in Easton.