Experience a working crane on the dockside with trips inside the electric cranes and the Fairbairn steam crane, M Shed’s biggest exhibits! Watch the impressive landmarks at work and find out the vital part they played in the working life of the dockside.
Take a ride in an electric crane cabin. A landmark on Bristol’s docks, these cargo cranes are a link to the city’s 1950s trading heyday.
The cranes are the last survivors of eight which were originally on the quayside and of over 40 which were originally in the City Docks during the 1950s.
Fairbairn steam crane
Climb inside the engine house of the Fairbairn steam crane – the oldest surviving exhibit of its type in Britain and a scheduled ancient monument – and see the boiler and watch the crane operating.
This innovative steam crane was built in 1878 by Victorian engineer William Fairbairn, to lift heavy loads from the deep holds of ships more efficiently than other cranes of the day.
Read more about the cranes over on the Working Exhibits section.
Image credit: Neil Philips