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History Industrial Archaeology

The 80 Ton 'Hammerhead' Crane

REF NR: 346

In 1911 J.S. White (the established shipbuilder) in Cowes ordered an 80 ton ‘hammerhead’ crane. It was to be a key element of the newly designed naval shipbuilding production facility which was going to be the cohort in the predicted increase in demand for potential  warships. The crane itself was designed by Babcock & Wilcox and manufactured in their yard at Renfrew, ending up being the only large cantilever crane they actually ever made.  The design became the favoured style of UK shipyards.


In 1912, this massive crane was shipped and rebuilt in its present position on the quay dominating the Cowes skyline in its magnificence. Although the term ‘hammerhead’ is applied to these types of cranes, the reality is that it should really only apply to the German ‘hammerkran’ crane. A few of which were built and shipped to the UK.