The Titan Crane

A remarkable A-listed structure standing more than 45.6m (150 feet) above the former John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank, the Titan Crane opened as an unusual tourist attraction in 2007 following a £3 million transformation by local redevelopment agency Clydebank-Rebuilt. This iconic 150-ton cantilever crane was built on the west side of the fitting-out basin in 1907, making it the oldest of its type in the world. Its work included lifting ship boilers and it was first used in the construction of the liner Lusitania. Designed by Sir William Arrol & Co. and constructed at their Dalmarnock Works in Glasgow, the crane cost £24,600. In 1938, its capacity was upgraded to 200 tons, to serve the larger ships being built by that time. Disused since 1967, the crane now features a computer-driven lighting scheme. Using a new lift, the public can access an interpretative exhibition in the wheel-house and a large viewing gallery on the jib platform that offers spectacular vistas over the river and beyond. There is a visitor centre nearby.

Clydebank Shipyard came into being when J & G Thomson moved their yard from Govan in 1871. In 1899, it was taken over by English iron-founders John Brown & Co and over the next 70 years they built some of the world's greatest ships, including the liners Queen Mary and QE2, alongside warships such as the Barham, Repulse, Hood, Duke of York, Indefatigable and Vanguard, the last battleship to be built anywhere in the world. In 1967 the yard became part of the ill-fated Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, which was bankrupt by 1971 and the centre of the famous work-in. It launched its last ship in 1972 but, under new ownership, struggled on producing platforms and other structural components for the oil industry until it finally closed at the end of 2000. The 31.5-ha (78-acre) site was sold for redevelopment, with 6.5 ha (16 acres) including the Titan acquired by Clydebank-Rebuilt.

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