Riverside crane is a painting marathon.

The volunteers busy painting a crane at Bath Riverside are making good progress on what has now been described as a ‘painting marathon.’

That’s looking better. The roof of the old steam crane gets a protective coating of paint. Thanks to volunteer Peter Dickinson of Monkey Business Arts Consultants for both the work and the photograph!

They are helping to brighten up a ‘city treasure’ under the direction of Bryan Chalker – a Bath man who might just as well have oil and grease running around in his veins instead of blood.

Bryan Chalker posing with a brass plaque that was once attached to the crane but was taken off before it went to Washford. It will be refitted at a ‘topping out’ ceremony when the work is completed. Photo © Jim Warren


An ex-Mayor and councillor, he was Heritage Champion for B&NES during his years of public service and keen to promote the industrial history of a city – better known for Roman remains and Georgian architecture.

Bryan Chalker’s first volunteer was Abi Soady who is a Development Graduate at Crest Nicholson.

Fresh from organising the seventh Bath Industrial Heritage Exhibition – held at BCFC’s Twerton Park home – he’s now leading a group of volunteers who have given up their time to re-paint an industrial landmark.

The steam crane at Bath Riverside

It’s an old steam crane – originally made at the city’s famous Stothert and Pitt factory – and rescued  from the breaker’s yard by Brian – with the help of Crest Nicholson.

Volunteer Mark Wilson is giving the cable and cable drum a protective coat of grease to keep the algae at bay until it can be properly greased. Photo © Jim Warren

They are busy regenerating Bath’s former industrial riverside footprint and installed the crane as a symbol of past meeting future.

Getting down to work

Now they’ve given Bryan a bit of cash to help towards the cost of repainting the crane – and he’s also managed to get the paint for free.


It’s not just the volunteers helping with the job who are coming in for praise – though Bryan is very grateful to them all.

Really starting to notice a difference now with the jib being the last difficult part to tackle.

He told me today – Wednesday, October 26th – that many materials had been very generously donated.

‘The company supplying the special enamel paint is Hempel, based at Llantarnam Park, Cwmbran, South Wales, and they donated a total of 14 cans of primer, thinners and paint, without charge. 

Homebase have given us the loan of a flat-bed trolley to transport the paint back and forth from storage to the crane, and a  local and old-established Bath engineering firm, who want no credit, donated a drum of industrial grease for the jib’s cables.

  Thanks to the poor weather, what began as an estimated 4-day project, has developed into a painting marathon – but we’re slowly getting there. 

The crane is a superb example of Stothert & Pitt’s early engineering skills – built to last – and a credit to Bath’s great industrial past.’



Top to bottom. Mark Wilson, Peter Dickinson and Bryan Chalker. Photo © Rob Cole

Jim Warren chatting to Bryan Chalker while Peter Dickinson is busy with the brush! Photo © Rob Cole


Here’s Bryan in action. Photo © Jim Warren