Job done: Cranes dismantle Salford’s iconic blue cranes

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The skyline in the north west is changing again as two massive cranes that have dominated views in Salford are removed.

The pair of blue cranes have been part of the Salford way of life for the best part of fifty years, but are now surplus to requirements as the Salford Quays area is redeveloped as one of Britain’s top media hubs.

Ironically, the work to remove these cranes is being done through the use of mobile cranes, brought in specially by contractors at the end of October to do the job.

It took only two days for the cranes to come down and change the ever-changing Salford skyline once again, a triumph of planning and efficiency for the Anthony O’Connor group who were contracted to do the work.

Unfortunately, the move has not been welcomed by heritage groups and crane fans who wanted to see them preserved as a reminder of the Quays area’s working past. However, as Salford’s mayor pointed out, the two cranes – which had been idle since 1988 – were well past the point at which they could have been restored, and the city simply would not have been able to afford the £1m bill to make them safe or move them to another site.

The dismantling of the cranes has not gone down well with local people, with some calling the actions of developers “vandalism on a grand scale”, asking “What next? Fill the quays in to give more building space?”

salford cranes blue

Elsewhere… timely intervention saved the Samson and Goliath cranes in Belfast several years ago. The two massive cranes, which dominate the city’s skyline, have been preserved at the Harland and Woolf shipyard which is famous as the place where the Titanic was built.

Recognising the cranes as part of Belfast’s architectural and industrial history, the pair were saved as historic monuments under Article 3 of the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

With other shipyard and dock cranes falling into disuse around the country, it’s wondered which way they’ll go. To the scrapheap, or a place in industrial history?

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