Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Symbol of Britain’s Shipping Heritage Disappears as Last Cranes in Salford Quays Scrapped

Cost of Maintenance Spell the End for Well Known Dockside Landmarks
Shipping News Feature

UK – Our photograph shows the final demise of two dockside cranes, humorously christened Niles and Frasier, by a local wag, before they were cut up for scrap last month amidst some local protests. As part of the shipping heritage of Manchester, the two stood alongside Salford Quays, now remodelled and housing international interests of another type, such as the new BBC offices.

Although considered iconic by many, the two cranes have stood only since 1988 after being moved from nearby South Dock Six where they were originally installed in 1966. A local protest outfit, the Salford Docklands Heritage and Nature Group, demanded to no avail that the cranes should stay as a memorial to the area’s heritage but the city council stated that the £1 million it claimed was necessary to restore the two and ensure they were safe was beyond its resources.

Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, described the situation as a ‘no brainer’ saying if there were an accident involving the cranes the resultant law suit would be devastating and, with the council facing £75 million in cuts in the next three years, the money to preserve them simply wasn’t available. James Walsh who formed the group which protested at the demolition said:

“The cranes are worth miles more to the city of Salford than the cost of scrap metal. They’re part of the fabric of the place, these could be profitable for the city of Salford. They are the most stunning reminder of the dockers, people did work very hard, some people lost their lives on the docks. Some of the kids in Salford don’t even know there were docks here and people should be learning what we are all about.”

Logistics and freight forwarding group Tuscor Lloyds’ headquarters overlook the old docks which began handling goods as far back as 1894. Staff there say they will miss the cranes as a daily reminder ‘of the work we carry out and the industrial history of the city we work and live in’.

Photo: The cutting torches spark up to spell the end for the iconic cranes.