There are very few cities in the world where the planners would leave a massive industrial crane in the middle of a regeneration area, and yet in Glasgow, it is somehow fitting.
The Finnieston Crane is visible for miles and is an iconic landmark by the Clyde.
It sits in the heart of the new developments at Finnieston Quay, acting as a symbol and reminder of the city’s engineering heritage.
The crane’s Sunday-name is the “Stobcross Crane”, named from the now filled-in Stobcross Quay which it used to serve. The crane is now disused, and it no longer works, but in its heyday, it was used to load heavy machinery onto waiting ships. It was also sometimes used for new ships as it could lift the massive engine and boiler components into place.
Its speciality was large steam locomotives. They were designed and built up the hill at St. Rollox in Springburn. They would then be heaved through the city by teams of men, traction engines and horses to be rigged up onto the crane and loaded onto a ship. Over its working life, it is estimated that some 30,000 locos were exported from here.
The crane itself is a giant cantilever (or hammerhead) crane. It stands some 53m (174 feet) tall and has a 46m (152 feet) cantilever jib with a lifting capacity of 175 tons.
It was built by Cowans, Sheldon & Co of Carlisle for the Clyde Navigation Trust and it came into service in 1932. It was the last of the giant cantilever cranes to be built on the Clyde and one of only eleven of these remaining worldwide.
Landmark and Icon
The crane has gradually become an icon for Glasgow.
In 1987 Glasgow sculptor George Wylie created a giant straw locomotive artwork which was suspended from the crane. It was built at the old Hyde Park works in Springburn and processed through the streets before being hung up.
BBC Scotland’s new headquarters at Pacific Quay overlooks the crane, and it can be seen in Reporting Scotland’s nightly news broadcasts.
24 hour access.
Beside the SEC. The SEC has its own railway station Exhibition Centre which has regular trains from Partick and Glasgow Central. The 100 Riversider bus service runs every 30 minutes from George Square and the X19 and McGills 23 buses stop on Lancefield Street. The SEC is also stop 11 for the Glasgow tour bus. The Clyde Walkway is a pedestrian and cycle path that comes from the city centre and runs past the SEC and the crane.