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hammerheadcraneThe Victorian Society has welcomed the news that repair work will begin on Cowes’ historic hammerhead crane after English Heritage provided £76,000.

The funding will help ensure that Cowes’ industrial heritage is not lost and forgotten. The crane’s plight was highlighted by its inclusion in the Victorian Society’s list of the Top Ten Most Endangered Buildings in England and Wales 2014.

Shipbuilder J.S. White’s 80 ton hammerhead crane – installed to increase capacity for the production of naval warships – epitomises Cowes’ industrial past. The giant cantilever crane was built within the first decade of these cranes’ development and is the only remaining pre- WWI hammerhead crane in England. Following the provision of funding from English Heritage the council now has appointed a specialist firm to carry out repairs to the crane in March 2015. The works are expected to take around 16 weeks to complete.

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James Hughes, Victorian Society Conservation Advisor, said:

“This is excellent news for Cowes. Industrial structures such as Cowe’s hammerhead crane must be retained for us to fully understand our history. Isle of Wight Council should continue to work with the site’s owner, the Harrison Trust, to secure the crane’s long term future”.

The Victorian Society remains concerned about another Isle of Wight building, the Frank James Hospital, which also previously featured on its list of Top Ten Most Endangered Buildings back in 2007. Since then the former hospital has continued to decay. The Society hopes that the Council will act on the petition of nearly 3,000 signatures presented to it by the Friend of Frank James Hospital last year and finally serve an urgent works notice on the building’s owners.

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