Hammerhead crane, Isle of Wight

Giant cantilever crane in Cowes used for the production of naval warships

When you picture Victorian or Edwardian Cowes it is perhaps the regatta, rather than industry, which first springs to mind. However, Cowes’ industrial past is epitomised by shipbuilder J.S. White’s 80 ton hammerhead crane – installed to increase capacity for the production of naval warships. One of these, HMS Cavalier, is preserved at Chatham Dockyard as a memorial to the 143 British destroyers and over 11,000 men lost at sea during WWII. 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. We urge the Council to continue to press to secure the future of this industrial landmark.

The last Isle of Wight building to featured in the The Victorian Society’s Top Ten was the Frank James Memorial Hospital in East Cowes, which was also nominated again this year. The hospital was originally built as a Home for Retired Seamen, before becoming a hospital in 1903. The hospital closed in 2002 and has suffered much deterioration since then.

In 2013 the The Victorian Society wrote to the Council noting that plans for the building had not yet progressed and urging it to serve an Urgent Works Notice to the owners. This step has not as yet been taken. There is currently a petition on the campaigning website 38 degrees asking Isle of Wight Council to take this course of action to stop any further decay

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