The Cowes Hammerhead Crane Trust
Update: 5th March 2012
Download the Gift Aid Declaration Form
The Cowes Hammerhead Crane Trust was formed in 2006 seeking to preserve this iconic tribute to England's early industrial design engineering and as a symbol of the importance of Cowes', the Island's and England's, engineering and shipbuilding heritage. We focused on actions to preserve the structure of the crane, such as increasing the protection levels to a grade II star listed structure on the English Heritage 'at risk' list and conducting structural inspections.
As we worked with English Heritage and the Island's conservation team we learnt what engagement and support to the community really meant - we have matured. Our aspirations have widened. We know we can do more, 'Making this important past part of our future'.
We are promoting the 1912 Hammerhead Crane as our 'brand', not only to restore the crane, but to inspire young people to take up careers in engineering and heritage related fields such as craftsmanship, restoration or heritage tourism. We want to 'seed' youngsters into their own business start-ups in these areas, thereby generating further employment opportunities.
We see the crane, already a key landmark, in it's heritage community setting, the focus of community adhesion, a venue for events, activities, and enabling people to enjoy the historic waterfront.
But we need help. The crane is in need of urgent repair. English Heritage has offered to support Isle of Wight Council by underwriting the costs up to £90,000 of serving an Urgent Works Notice on the owners to address the most rapidly deteriorating elements of the crane. For this the Council would have to contribute 20% at £18,000.
English Heritage and the Cowes Hammerhead Crane Trust have urged the Isle of Wight Council to undertake all actions within its powers now to ensure this iconic Crane is saved and restored as a key part of the Island heritage giving its past a rightful place in its future. Unfortunately due to financial constraints the Council is unwilling to find the 20% contribution.
The Cowes Hammerhead Crane Trust has now launched its own appeal for funds so that it can contribute to the costs of the Urgent Works Notice. Please help us raise the £18,000 to get the urgent works carried out. If you are able we have provided a gift aid application form to enable us to take advantage of the Revenue Departments support for charitable donations.
Download the Gift Aid Declaration Form
ENGLISH HERITAGE - INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE AT RISK IN THE SOUTH EAST
The largest ever research project into the condition of England's industrial heritage was published on the 18 October, 2011 by English Heritage together with its annual Heritage at Risk Register.
A poll of public attitudes to industrial heritage by English Heritage reveals that: 63% of those in the South East agree that the industrial revolution is the most important period of British history, 86% of people agree that it is important we value and appreciate, industrial heritage and 80% of those in the South East think it is just as important as our castles and country houses,
70% think industrial heritage sites should be reused for modern day purposes as long as their character is preserved, 43% of people in the South East would be interested in getting involved with helping to protect the industrial heritage. For example, through volunteering or helping with fundraising
The research project into the condition of England's industrial heritage reveals that: nationally, almost 11% of grade I and II* industrial buildings are at risk making them three times more at risk than grade I and II* buildings as a whole. They make up 13% of all buildings on the Heritage at Risk Register. Of all the entries on the Register in the South East, some 4% are at risk (20 industrial sites).
In the South East, 38% of industrial heritage sites at risk are maritime structures such as shipping and naval dockyards.
The iconic 99 year old Hammerhead Crane on the Isle of Wight, which should be a proud example of the island's engineering heritage, is seriously at risk of decay and is in danger of collapsing into the Medina River.
The Cowes Hammerhead Crane Trust was formed in 2005 as a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity to be the voice of the Crane to ensure that is restored as a fully functioning Crane in it’s historic public space setting and that it is preserved in perpetuity for the people of the nation. The challenge is how to make the Crane, and the maritime heritage it represents, mean something to people today and for the future.
The Cowes Hammerhead Crane
The 1912 80 ton hammerhead Crane was ordered by Cowes shipbuilder J.S. White in 1911 and came into use the following year. It was the key element of a new fitting-out quay, as part of White's increased capacity for the production of naval warships. The Crane was designed by Babcock and Wilcox and engineered at their Renfrew plant, but it was the only giant cantilever Crane they ever built. This type of Crane would eventually dominate the skyline of shipyards throughout the world. The Cowes structure falls within the first decade of their development and the Crane is probably the earliest example in existence beyond the Clyde, and the only remaining pre-WW1 hammerhead crane in England. Two warships that were built under the crane are still in existence; HMS Cavalier preserved at Chatham, and the Polish Navy’s destroyer ‘ORP Blyskawica’ preserved in Poland.
The 1912 hammerhead dockyard crane at Cowes is a magnificent symbol to all of what the Island is capable of achieving and of the many ships that Cowes and the Island have built.
The Crane has been out of use since 2004. The findings of two engineering surveys carried out in 2005 and 2009 show that the Crane is structurally sound. The Cowes Hammerhead Crane was listed Grade II on the 2nd August 2004 through the good efforts of the Isle of Wight Industrial Archaeological Society, upgraded to a Grade 11 star 30th October 2007, and placed on the English heritage ‘At Risk’ list July 2008.
The 1912 hammerhead Crane is likely to be the only reminder of Cowes’ marine industrial heritage; standing proud on the Cowes skyline, a landmark looking down over the approaches to Cowes, the Solent and the Medina River. The Crane is a magnificent symbol to all of what the Island is capable of achieving and of the many ships that Cowes and the Island have built. The challenge is how to make the Crane, and the maritime heritage it represents, mean something to people today and for the future.