We’re painting the M Shed cranes!

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

by Caroline Booth-Morris, Development Manager

If you have taken a stroll around the harbour lately you may have noticed that we have temporarily closed the walkway outside M Shed and moved all four cranes closer together.

This is because we have begun the process of preparation and painting to conserve these wonderful landmarks.

This project started following a detailed report from our Conservation and Documentation Manager, Frances Coles. She identified that the cranes were showing significant signs of deterioration. They were last painted in 2004 and required urgent attention.

We needed to raise additional funds to support this project so last summer we launched a public fundraising campaign. Many of you kindly supported the campaign and we wish to thank everyone who donated.

We also want to thank our partners The Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society, The Bristol Port Company, Enovert Community Fund, The Pilgrim Trust and Stowe Family Law for their support of the project.

One of the M Shed electric cranes being painted

Rust is the enemy of riveted steel structures like these. They depend upon a well-applied, protective paint scheme to prevent corrosion. If rust is able to form and build up between the riveted surfaces, it could blow the joint apart. Not the future we want for our four iconic friends!

To prevent this from happening, all four cranes are now undergoing a full repaint with specialist primer and paint. An experienced team have been assigned as they are using commercial cherry pickers to reach the highest points. You may have already seen them out and about doing this work. Give them a wave if they see you watching!

As the M Shed cranes are located on the busy Harbourside, it is essential that the work is done considerately and carefully for the protection of humans, wildlife and our environment. We hope to finish by mid-June – Great British weather permitting!

We’re so thankful to everyone who supported our campaign to raise the funds to complete this project. We look forward to completing the conservation work and once again opening this walkway so we can all stroll beneath these metal giants, marvel at their presence and appreciate their history.

To support projects such as this please do consider making a donation to Bristol Museums Development Trust (charity no. 113777), an independent charity that supports the care, conservation and future of our collections. Make a donation.

Read more about our working exhibits.

2 comments on “We’re painting the M Shed cranes!

  1. Pauline Dunmall

    I would be grateful if you could update me as to when you think the re painting of cranes will be completed and the harbour side infront of m shed re opened to the public.
    I feel it is only a matter of time before a child, adult or scooter user is knocked down by a car as there are many people now using this narrow walk way at the back of m shed and often spill suddenly into the road often to try and social distance.
    I look forward to your response. Thank you.


  2. Lauren MacCarthy Author

    Hi Pauline, the painting finished and the harbourside reopened on 9 July.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.