Some good news today for the team of people working hard to restore one of the oldest surviving cranes of its type – manufactured by Bath’s famous engineering firm – Stothert and Pitt.
The Bath Stone Quarry Museum Trust and project team are delighted to announce they have received a Caring for the Cotswolds Grant run by the Cotswolds National Landscape.
A grant of £1,900 has been awarded, to assist the project team to complete the second and final phase of works to restore the historic Stothert and Pitt Stone Quarry crane which worked in Box in Wiltshire.
The Cotswolds is a special place to live, work and visit and Caring for The Cotswolds Grants scheme is a way for businesses and people to give back something to ensure the environment is taken care of. Grants do this by using donations to support projects that conserve vital habitats, species and protect the areas heritage so it can be enjoyed by future generations.
Stone quarrying was a major industry in this part of the Cotswolds and evidence of such can still be found in the landscape in the form of worked out surface quarries , entrances to underground quarries such as at Clift Quarry , where the crane worked , and the homes of quarry workers, owners and their families.
The crane was in very poor condition and the Trust devised a plan to conserve and repair it. At present it is being restored by a group of volunteers led by Peter Dunn and Arthur Feltham ex – apprentice, Commissioning and Service Engineer for Stothert and Pitt.
During its quarrying life the crane was used at Pictor’s wharf, adjacent the Great Western Railway, in Box and at Clift Quarry on Box Hill. Quarry trolleys ran on a tramway from Clift Quarry to the Wharf. Clift Quarry closed in 1968.
It is an important part of Box and Baths industrial history, believed to be the oldest surviving crane of its type manufactured in about 1864 by the famous engineering firm Stothert and Pitt, described by Historic England as the most famous crane makers in the world. It is a visible reminder of the important quarrying heritage of Box, the Cotswolds National Landscape, Bath Stone Quarrying and what was produced by the famous engineering firm in Bath.
The Bath Stone Quarry Museum Trust has also been given grants from:-
The Association of Industrial Archaeology (AIA)
The Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society (BIAS)
Hawker Joinery of Bath
Plus funding from The Bath Stone Quarry Museum Trust (BSQMT) who will donate the crane once restored to the City of Bath.
When restored, subject to planning approval, Bath and North East Somerset Council hope to site the crane on the former Newark Work Stothert and Pitt site which is being redeveloped as part of Bath Quays South. It will go on public display in Foundry Courtyard, an area previously used for testing cranes. The project is expected to be completed in late Autumn 2021.
James Webb, Partnerships and Funding Lead at Cotswolds National Landscape
“The beautifully restored crane highlights the shared history between Bath and the Cotswolds. It’s the story of industrial heritage, people, and places and of course, the Cotswold stone. This project will be of great interest to residents and visitors alike and one that we are proud to support.”
Stuart Burroughs, Director of the Museum of Bath at Work, summed up the cranes significance to Bath: ‘The return of this crane, to its home town and to the site where it was manufactured, is important enough, but the display and interpretation of this item helps correct the perception of Bath as a city if Georgian elegance, by showing a product of its working life. Stothert and Pitt spread their cranes to many ports throughout the world. This brings home that manufacturing heritage.’
Councillor Richard Samuel, cabinet member for Resources and Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council added: ‘Stothert and Pitt were a true Bath success story, renowned as crane makers to the world and I’m delighted the project team have secured this important funding to restore this important piece of Bath’s heritage. The restored crane will provide a fantastic centrepiece to Foundry Courtyard at Bath Quays South. It will provide a link to Bath’s industrial past in an area that forms a key part of the city’s Enterprise Zone, offering spaces for digital, tech and creative companies which are key to the city’s economic future.’