It’s been a week since the first public outing for the working exhibits in over a year, Docks Heritage Weekend. What a blast! So great to have the volunteers working with the public again. Both Portbury and Henbury were on display and the capstan was back in operation both days, and crane 30 was kept busy loading and unloading the lorry. Quayside operations were bolstered with audience interaction from the Show of Strength Theatre company. Thanks for Bob, Bruce and the M Shed social media channels for these photos of the weekend.
Back at the start of the month, Crane 30 was used to lift off the wheelhouse to Bristol tug ‘John King’ so it can have some tender loving care.
Thanks to Bob Edwardes for these photos! Bob says “Whilst up the crane I also had a cracking view of the recently restored Thames sailing barge (S.B. Gladys) making her way from Gloucester back to London via Bristol Harbour.”
Bob’s been busy with his paintbrush again, this time it was the turn of the Coles self-propelled crane, which is no longer pink/red but yellow with wasp stripes and signwritten ‘Coles’ logo. Thanks to Bob for these photos.
The 1861-built Steam Tug ‘Mayflower’ takes another step in the progress of its overhaul as the boiler is lifted back into the hull. Assisting in the operation is 1917-built Avonside ‘Portbury’ and 1951-built Stothert and Pitt ‘Crane 32’, both working exhibits and still earning their keep at M Shed Museum. Whilst the superstructure was off I took the opportunity to film some shots of the engine room with natural light, a rare occurrence! The lifting operation was undertaken by a minimum number of volunteers due to the COVID-19 situation and working regulations.
Henbury’s overhauled rolling chassis has now been reunited with the boiler, allowing re-assembly to continue. In order to do this, the temporary track was extended out of the workshop, and a commercial crane was employed to turn the frames through 90 degrees and onto the quayside track. Portbury was able to bring the boiler on its trolley down to the quayside, where it was lifted into the frames. It was nearly dark by the time the operation was completed. Lastly, Portbury took her old stablemate back to the running shed.
Lots has been going on, ‘Portbury’ has just finished working the busy Bank Holiday weekend.
A few weeks ago the Steam Crane’s jib was re-painted.
The Turbot’s vacuum brake cylinder was due for overhaul, so in March it was shunted out of the service train and outside the shed, where the work was carried out.
Here it is, freshly refurbished.
The BD open wagon’s repaint is pressing ahead. The planks still have a few years left in them so since the wagon won’t be carrying much in the way of loads, the scabby looking planks were simply turned around in situ.
THE WORLD’S FIRST TREEHOUSE ON A CRANE COMES TO BRISTOL’S HARBOURSIDE
Over the past three years, we’ve been secretly tending to a rather surprising seed of an idea. Canopy & Stars at Crane 29 – a glorious treehouse suspended high in one of Bristol Harbourside’s iconic cranes! We’ve taken all the goodness of the outdoors and put it into a cosy cocoon of calm in the heart of the city to create a surprising, sensory experience and a true natural high. The best bit? You can actually stay in it!
Although we’ve spent years collating our collection of the most unusual places to stay in the outdoors, this is our first ever treehouse in a crane, and, indeed, the first time you can fully experience a Canopy & Stars holiday in an urban environment. This low-impact build, supported by brilliant solutions from B&Q, is completely carbon neutral and built using sustainable materials. The treehouse will grace Bristol’s skyline for just four months. As the first leaves drop from the trees in late September it will disappear but not before leaving the world a little greener. We’ll be donating all profits from the treehouse to Friends of the Earth.