Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,535 pages of information and 233,960 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Stothert and Pitt

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1878. Fairbairn Patent Steam Crane, made by Stothert and Pitt, at Bristol's 'M Shed'.
Bristol dockside.
1878. Fairbairn Patent Steam Crane at Bristol's 'M Shed'.
1878. Fairbairn Patent Steam Crane at Bristol's 'M Shed'.
Bristol dockside (detail).
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
1869. Kurrachee Harbour Works "Titan" for Laying Blocks of Manora Breakwater.
1881. Fifteen-Ton Block-Setting Crane for the Port Alfred Harbour Works, South Africa.
1885. Steam excavating crane at the 1885 Inventions Exhibition.
1897. 40-Ton Block-setting "Titan".
1888. Block-Setting Hercules, Douglas Harbour Works.
January 1888.
Photo c1890s. 1876 S&P sidesetter on the RIGHT.
1893. Tipping Boxes for Depositing Concrete at La Guaira Breakwater.
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[1]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[2]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[3]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[4]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[5]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[6]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[7]
1899. Hand worked, breakdown crane ( 4+4w, 15t ), Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.[8]
1902. Goliath Crane.
1902. Golliath Crane.
1904. 50-ton electric crane.
1909. Name plate.
1909. 36 ton Breakdown Crane for the GWR 1909
Stothert and Pitt pump connected to Belliss and Morcom steam engine, on static display at Poldark Mine Museum
1917. 36 ton Breakdown Crane. It had to be provided with a plate frame jib after the lattice jib was damaged. Design weakness or a topple
1918. 35-Ton Steam Breakdown Crane for Service Overseas.
1918. 35-Ton Breakdown Crane.
1918. Railway Breakdown Crane.
1922. 15-Ton Locomotive Steam Jib Crane for Morocco.
December 1929.
1930. Block setting table crane for Table Bay.
1933.Multi Bucket Excavator. Capacity approx 60 cu. yds. per hr. Driven by 35 HP electric motor[9]
Aug 1935. Great Western RailwayGWR Centenary.
1951 Stothert and Pitt level luffing dockside crane, Wellington, New Zealand, photographed in 2009
The 4 remaining of 8 originally on the quay at Bristol's 'M Shed'. Image by M. Soper.
1951. Designers and makers of electric, steam and diesel cranes, concrete mixers, road making and quarry plant. excavators, ship's windlasses, winches and capstans etc.
April 1952.
March 1958.
June 1958.
February 1959.
1959. Portal Crane
April 1969.
A mooring point on the quayside in Bristol.
Former Stothert and Pitt works in Bath, 2008
Former Stothert and Pitt works in Bath, 2008, showing filled-in turntable pit.
At Southampton Docks.
At Southampton Docks.
At Southampton Docks.
On the quay at Bristol's 'M Shed'.
On the quay at Bristol's 'M Shed'.
On the quay at Bristol's 'M Shed'.
Cranes outside the M Shed at Bristol. Image by M. Soper.

Stothert and Pitt of Bath, maker of creans.

Formerly Stothert, Rayno and Pitt

c.1855 After Rayno retired the firm became Stothert and Pitt under John Lum Stothert and Robert Pitt

1869 Made a Titan crane for setting 27-ton blocks during construction of the Manora Point breakwater, Karachi ('Kurrachee'). Tested with 40-ton load in Bath, September 1869 [10]

1876 Supplied a blocksetting crane to Colombo Harbour Works, Ceylon for breakwater works. Stothert and Pitt; 17/30-ton non rotative, sidesetter. Supplied with two styles of jib which probably explains the two capacities noted. 1875-1884 works utilized 30 -32T sloping bond block; 4212’; completed 1885. Worked in conjunction with the 1876 Taylor blocksetter. Photo - p182, 'Civil Engineering, Photographic History', M.Chrimes. [11]

1883 The health of the 2 partners worsened; the company was incorporated as a Limited Company with Mr Stothert as chairman; he remained in this position until his death.

1902 Public company. The company was registered on 2 July, to acquire a business of engineers, manufacturers of harbour and dock plant and electric cranes. [12]

1905 70-ton overhead travelling crane for Natal harbour blockwork. 135 ft 8" span. The steel gantry was made by Joseph Westwood and Co of Millwall. The motors and control gear were supplied by Bruce, Peebles and Co.[13]

1911 Steam crane for Singapore made for Topham, Jones and Railton. [14]

1914 Built their largest Titan crane to date at Victoria Yard. It was built to the order of Messrs. Topham, Jones, and Railton for block setting at the breakwater at Fishguard Harbour. It was described as the largest travelling crane of its type ever built in this country. The crane was designed for loads of 40 tons at a maximum radius 125 ft. [15]

1914 Manufacturers of cranes and harbour plant. Specialities: giant cranes and titans for harbour construction, electric cranes for docks, large cranes for railways, capstans and hauling gear, concrete machines. Employees 900. [16]

1918 1918 3no. 36 ton breakdown cranes built for the Ministry of Munitions for use by the British Army Railway Operating Department on the Nord Railway in France and Belgium. They were out of gauge for use on British main survived on the SNCB until about 2000. It had to have its jib modified.One probably never left England and was sold to the Prince of Wales Dry Dock Co., Port Talbot.[17]

1921 Mr Wilson S. Carr represented the company on the South-East Coast.[18]

1921 C. M. Toplis was chief engineer; the company supplied Toplis cranes for ships[19]

1922 Supplied six 25-ton capacity cranes to Fougerolle Frères of Paris for port construction in Morocco. These were steam-powered rail-mounted cranes weighing 95 tons, with a 37 ft jib.[20]

1924 Mr Claude M. Toplis who was for the past fourteen years chief engineer resigned. Major E. G. Fiegehen was the remaining partner.[21]

1926 Entrusted by the Calcutta Port Commissioners with an order for twenty-four 2-ton level luffing electric jib cranes for the equipment of the quays at the King George Dock in Calcutta. Eighteen cranes are of the semi-portal type - twelve for the import shed and six for the export shed and the remaining six are of the full portal type and intended for the import shed.[22]

1930 Long-reach block setting crane for South African Railways & Harbour Dept, Table Bay. Max radius of load 105 ft. [23]

1933 Started to produce multi-bucket excavators. These were powered by diesel engines or electric motors. An example was displayed at the 1933 Public Works Exhibition [24]

1937 Engineers. [25]

1940 Advert. Screw displacement pumps. [26]

1945 Advert. Designers and makers of electric, steam and diesel cranes, concrete mixers, road making and quarry plant. excavators, ship's windlasses, winches and capstans etc. [27]

1949 Two cranes made by Stothert and Pitt were installed on Melbourne's Station Pier at the seaward end. Although decommissioned in 1975, they remained in place until 1996.

1960 Multi-bucket excavators. [28]

1960 Advert. Electric and diesel-electric cranes, concrete mixers, vibrating rollers, road making and quarry plant, multi-bucket excavators etc. [29]

1961 Manufacturers and exporters of cranes; concrete mixers, truck mixers, vibrating rollers, batching plant and quarry plant; rotary and screw displacement pumps, centrifugal and marine pumps; windlasses, winches and capstans. Also manufacture multi-bucket excavators. 2,200 employees. [30]

1967 Obtained a licence to produce bucket wheel excavators designed by ERMI of Paris.[31]

1968 Contract for twelve cargo cranes to Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. [32]

1986 Robert Maxwell's Pergamon Holdings injected £4million into the company in exchange for 77 percent of the equity[33]

1989 The crane division was sold to NEI[34]

2015 One of the Melbourne Station Pier cranes, was reinstalled as part of the heritage interpretation scheme for the pier.[35]

  • Goliath cranes, sometimes called portal cranes, are similar to overhead travelling cranes, but instead of running on rails at high level, or on a free standing gantry structure, they run on rails on the floor. One of the advantages of a goliath crane is that the absence of support gantry rails can save money.

The Fairbairn Steam Crane at Bristol

Built in 1878 by Stothert and Pitt to William Fairbairn's 1850 patent.

The oldest surviving exhibit of its type in Britain and a scheduled ancient monument.

The crane's strength lay in its jib, which was made of wrought-iron plates riveted together to make an immensely strong tubular-section girder. It could lift up to 35 tons (35.56 tonnes) and was meant to supplement the lifting ability of the Docks' other 17 cranes.

The crane has now been restored to full working order and is the responsibility of Bristol's 'M Shed'. [36]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Mr. C. Capewell.
  2. Mr. C. Capewell.
  3. Mr. C. Capewell.
  4. Mr. C. Capewell.
  5. Mr. C. Capewell.
  6. Mr. C. Capewell.
  7. Mr. C. Capewell.
  8. Mr. C. Capewell.
  9. [1] The Engineer, 17 Nov 1933, pp.501-2
  10. 'Engineering' 27th September 1869
  11. Chris Capewell
  12. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  13. [2] The Engineer, 10 March 1905
  14. The Engineer 1911/12/15 p627
  15. Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 16 May 1914
  16. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  17. C. Capewell
  18. The Engineer 1920/12/24
  19. The Engineer 1921/05/13
  20. [[The Engineer 1922/08/18
  21. The Engineer 1924/06/20
  22. The Engineer 1926/07/09
  23. [3] The Engineer, 21 March 1930
  24. [4] The Engineer, 17 Nov 1933, pp.501-2
  25. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  26. Mechanical World Year Book 1940. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p204
  27. Mechanical World Year Book 1945. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p242
  28. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p741
  29. Mechanical World Year Book 1960. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p242
  30. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  31. 'Stothert & Pitt - Cranemakers to the World' by Ken Andrews and Stuart Burroughs, Tempus Publishing, 2003 & 2011, p.77
  32. The Engineer 1968/02/09 1968 p253
  33. The Times, October 17, 1986
  34. The Times, March 03, 1989
  35. Lovell Chen News