The cranes, which were once used to unload coal from supply vessels, are listed structures and part of the Power Station’s industrial heritage. They are being restored and will be reinstated on the Power Station jetty following completion of the Northern line extension (NLE) works.
- The original cranes were installed in the 1930s but replaced in the 1950s by the current structures
- They were used to unload coal into hoppers over the conveyors that fed the Power Station, unloading up to 240 tonnes of coal per hour
- The cranes weigh approximately 175 tonnes each and stand about 25m high, running on rails 8.5m apart
- They were decommissioned in 1983 and stood disused for over 30 years
- Over the decades, the cranes deteriorated and became structurally unsound. They were also found to contain hazardous material including asbestos, oil contaminants, lead paint and vermin waste
Where Have the Cranes Gone?
The cranes are stored at the port of Tilbury in Essex.
Since the cranes were decommissioned they have structurally deteriorated and contain hazardous material.
In order for the cranes to reappear as defining features on the jetty when the new public park and Thames Path extension open, they need to be repaired and restored.
At the same time, works to construct the NLE are underway at the Power Station site.
As part of the Northern Line Extension, tunnels will be bored to Kennington and the large amounts of excavated soil are being removed from the site by barge, using the jetty where the cranes stood.
In order to protect the cranes whilst these works are taking place, they have been temporarily removed from the jetty and placed in storage prior to their restoration.
In order for the cranes to be preserved, they have been dismantled into sections and taken down the River Thames by barge for storage, prior to restoration, at the Port of Tilbury.
Due to the contaminates, and for safety and environmental reasons, the refurbishment works need to be carried out in a secure off site location.
Each crane will be carefully dismantled into approximately 25 liftable parts that will all be catalogued, photographed and labelled for reconstruction when the cranes return to Battersea.
Restoration work will use original photos, drawings, paint samples and archive materials.
The cranes will be reinstated and retained as an integral part of the Power Station and as a heritage feature, following completion of the NLE tunnelling works in 2020.
By the time the Power Station and public park opens to the public in 2019 the cranes will have been restored and returned to the front of the Power Station.