Taking a jab at our memorial jib.

Sad to hear the old steam-driven crane – down at the Crest Riverside development – has attracted the attention of vandals.

It was installed there as a memorial to Stothert and Pitt – the Bath engineering company which employed hundreds of local people over many years.

western riverside
The 1904 Stothert and Pitt steam crane at Western Riverside

Recently, ex-Councillor, Mayor and former Council Heritage Champion, Bryan Chalker rounded up a small body of helpers and donors to renovate the structure.

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


There had been a lot of effort put in to preserve this relic from Bath’s industrial past. A mechanical marvel rescued from obscurity and brought – at Crest Nicholson’s expense – to be a lasting symbol of the land’s former occupants.

A machine made here in the huge factory of one of the world’s greatest crane makers back in 1904 and brought back to the city from a railway yard at Minehead where it was rusting away having failed a boiler test..

Bryan tells me:

Attached are photos of the attempt to steal the cab ladder from the 1904 steam crane but, luckily, colleague Mark Wilson, who lives in a flat opposite, was able to rescue it and take to his flat for safe-keeping.

Saved from becoming a piece of scrap metal.

The police have been informed…..  Aside from the railings (installed to prevent earlier vandalism), what more can we do to protect Bath’s industrial heritage?

I really am tiring of this lawless country and want to see real policemen back on the beat and in high numbers to combat rising crime.

The ladder before being put safely away.

I should add that the ladder in question is a replacement from an Edwardian saddle-tank steam locomotive, donated by Avon Valley Railway, as the original was in an advanced state of decay.

It is now secured in the crane’s cab and, hopefully, will remain there. It’s sad reflection of our times that nothing is safe from vandalism anymore.’

1 Comment

  1. Re police on the beat, I live in this area and there are frequent regular patrols past this very spot so any comment about ‘never seeing a bobby’ would be inaccurate. Plus Crest have uniformed security on duty and a sales office which is staffed all day. I would assume this was the work of devious scrap metal thieves rather than vandals.

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