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.
It’s been a while since I’ve done any Throw Back Thursday posts, but with summer just around the corner, there are more to come!
This is a photo from a charter in 2001, during the last days of Ashton Meadows sidings (note the overgrown bushes). The loco is GWR 813, a unique survivor built in 1901 for the Port Talbot Railway in Wales. The 813 fund have given permission for this photo to be reproduced here.
In May 2014, a shunting move to get rolling stock out of the Smeaton Road shed and into the rebuilt ‘Barn’ saw Fox, Walker and Sons No.242 (NCB No.3) out in the open air. This loco had new bearings fitted before the rebuild of M Shed in 2006, so is a rolling chassis and can be moved around.
The photos also give an indication as to the condition of the loco, and the scale of any restoration that might take place.
These pictures were taken by Michelle Scoplin of the Create Centre and appear here with her kind permission.
The Coles crane is moved out first as part of the shunt
With the crane out of the way, the Ruston couples up
‘For Sale’ – very funny!
Pinholes in the tank give an idea as to the thickness of the metal
The view from the Ruston’s footplate as it drags the Victorian locomotive out
Gently eased out on to the running line
Out on the New Cut – the furthest the loco has been in a long time
As previously mentioned on this blog, in 1981, the Western Fuel Co.’s diesel shunter Western Pride was in need of an overhaul. This locomotive was used to shunt wagons on the dockside and into the WFC compound, as well as trip workings along the New Cut to Ashton Meadows sidings, from where a BR loco would take the wagons onto the main line.
So it was that Henbury was hired as the first preserved steam loco to pull scheduled goods trains for British Railways (BR having stopped using steam traction in 1968). She crept onto the Western Fuel Co.’s site at 7am on Monday 28th September 1981 and worked for the next three weeks hauling coal trains of up to 450 tons.
This cinefilm was captured by Bob Edwardes and appears here with permission.
Points of particular interest include running on the main line to Bristol Bath Road engine shed to use the turntable (creating quite a contrast to the BR Blue mainline diesels at Bristol Temple Meads!) and double heading with the PBA Rolls-Royce Sentinel No. 41 (10220) that took over duties from Henbury.
Taking loaded wagons up to the Wharf (John Stanford)
October 1981, in between shunting moves (John Stanford)
Harbour Festival is always busy down at Bristol Docks. I was volunteering on the Sunday (Saturday had seen torrential downpours, we were lucky on Sunday).
A couple of views from 8am before the crowds arrived.
The ever faithful ‘Henbury’ was on duty today.
As steam was raised outside the shed, I was tasked with polishing up some of the brasswork, including climbing up on the saddle tank to do the whistles, safety valve cover and chimney cap.
Then Driver Bob eases her over the pit for oiling.
The harbour area was packed full of interesting vessels and activities, and the museum’s own fleet was out in force.
The main challenge of the day was traversing the extremely busy area on the wharf. Trains proceeded along this section at a snail’s pace. Museum volunteers in high-vis made sure members of the public didn’t stray on to the running line.
Services were between M Shed and the SS Great Britain halt. The rain did eventually come, thankfully only toward the end of the day.
‘Henbury’s fire was dropped and she backed into the shed after another day’s work.