John Brown, who has been public relations adviser to Clydebank re-built and Titan Crane since it opened as a heritage visitor attraction, reports on the ceremony to award the crane international engineering landmark status.
The Titan Crane at Clydebank, the first giant
electrically-powered cantilevered crane, has just been designated
an 'International Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering
Landmark' by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the
world's three other leading engineering institutes. It joins
other world landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Harbour
Bridge and Machu Picchu in Peru.
Hailed as an engineering triumph, the 106-year old crane is one
of only 13 of its kind the left in the world. It is only the
fourteenth landmark in the UK to have received the ASCE accolade
and the first in UK to be endorsed by all four leading
international engineering institutions - the American Society of
Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE),
the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the
Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Awarding the landmark designation at a special ceremony under
the towering Titan in Clydebank, Andrew Herrmann, immediate past
President of the ASCE, said: "The Titan Crane is a beacon among
cranes as it influenced the development of many similar cranes
across the globe. ASCE is honoured to join for the first time with
three other engineering societies to designate the Titan as an
international historic engineering landmark"
The Titan becomes the fifth internationally recognised
engineering landmark in Scotland taking its place alongside the
Forth Railway Bridge, the Forth & Clyde Canal, the Bridge
Craigellachie and the Caledonian Canal. The Clydebank Titan
post-dates all the other giant cranes on the Clyde; the remaining
Glasgow Fairfield's crane was built in 1911, the Greenock Crane in
1917, and the much-featured Glasgow Finneston Crane was built in
1932. Constructed in 1907 at a cost of £24,600, the Titan was
designed by "engineer extraordinaire" Adam Hunter (1869 - 1933), a
Scottish engineer from Glasgow based firm Sir William Arrol &
Co and member of both the ASCE and ICE. The innovative design
of the crane, which included a fixed counterweight and electrically
operated hoists, mounted on a rotated beam, made it faster and more
responsive than its steam powered predecessors. On completion, the
Titan was tested to lift loads of up to 160 tons. Hunter's
design later became the most widely adopted in the world,
influencing the erection of cranes of this type worldwide.
The crane, now a unique visitor and education heritage centre on
the River Clyde, made a major contribution to Glasgow's
shipbuilding industry last century, helping to fit out some of the
world's biggest battleships and liners including the Queen Mary,
Queen Elizabeth and the QE2.
A plaque was unveiled at the ceremony at the Crane , attended by
over 100 guests from home and abroad, on 20th August 2013.
The plaque, supporting the logos of the four institutes,
states that the Titan "influenced the design of cranes of
this genre worldwide and is now the earliest survivor"
Accepting the plaque on behalf of the Titan Crane, Lyn Ryden,
community board member of Clydebank Re-built and the Titan
Clydebank Trust, said: "Today's designation of the Titan
Clydebank as a world engineering landmark is a tremendous boost to
our educational work here in promoting the proud heritage of
shipbuilding and engineering on the Clyde.
"Thanks to the Titan's lifting power, John Browns shipyards were
able to build some of the biggest ships in the world last century.
The Titan is now sadly all that remains of the shipyards at
Clydebank but this award puts the Titan on the world engineering
map for today's visitors and future generations of young
The nomination for the award to the Titan was put forward by the
Institution of Civil Engineer's Panel for Historical Engineering
Works, following research undertaken by Professor Roland Paxton of
Heriot Watt University.
ICE's President, Professor Barry Clarke, said: "This award
represents a significant achievement for what is a unique example
of the longstanding history of civil engineering excellence in
Scotland. Equally, it highlights the creativity and ingenuity of
the engineers who contributed to its construction - traits which
civil engineers all over the world display in their work to this
ASME President, Madiha El-Mehelmy Kotb who also attended the
ceremony said: "The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is
honoured to be among the organisations recognising the historical
significance of the Titan Crane. The Titan is a mechanical as well
as civil engineering marvel, incorporating electric motors and
aspects of structural design that became models for future cranes."
She hoped that the Award, and the educational work at the
Titan, would inspire new generations of young people not just
learn about the past successes but take up engineering as a career
for the future.
In 2007, on the centenary of its construction, Clydebank
Re-built following campaigning from local people restored the Titan
at a cost of over £3 million as a heritage visitor and education
centre, with funding from West Dunbartonshire Council, Scottish
Enterprise, Scottish Government, Historic Scotland, the European
Regional Development Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
A lift was sensitively installed to allow visitors to get up
to the crane's jib platform over 150 feet above ground.
The structure has previously been awarded IMechE's Engineering
Heritage Award in 2012 and its restoration in 2007 was recognised
by the Chicago Athenaeum Award for Architecture in 2008 and the
Civic Trust Award in 2009.
Since 2007, over 40,000 people, including many college and
school children, have visited the Titan, taking the lift to the top
and learning more about Clydebank's shipbuilding heritage.
The Titan is open to the public during the summer months on
Saturdays and Sundays or at any time by arrangement for community
and school groups throughout the year. An educational centre, with
a classroom area, is available for groups.
22 Aug 2013