As the opening of our new Belfast building draws nearer, we continue our exploration of Custom House’s local area and the many surrounding places of interest.
At BE Offices we are super excited for the imminent opening of the spectacular new addition to our portfolio, the majestic Custom House in Belfast.
With the first clients scheduled to move in at the end of the summer, we continue to explore local area attractions, such as the nearby ‘Salmon of Knowledge’, the Albert Memorial Clock and now the iconic Harland and Wolff cranes, known locally as Samson and Goliath.
Dominating the city skyline the cranes have become much-loved Belfast landmarks. so much so that they were scheduled for preservation in 2003.
The bright yellow gantry cranes were designed by Krupp-Ardelt and constructed in 1969 (Goliath) and 1974 (Samson) respectively. Standing at 315 feet and 348 feet high, each crane has the capacity to lift loads of up to 840 tonnes.
At the time of their construction Harland and Wolff, most famous for building the doomed RMS Titanic, were still world-leading shipbuilders and the building of the cranes was a beacon of light, during a period which was seen as a difficult one for Belfast shipbuilding in general. In its heyday Harland and Wolff employed 35,000 people, but sadly, the business saw a decline in the years following the construction of the cranes and the last ship launched at the yard was in 2003. Since that time the business has been restructured to focus more on structural engineering, design and ship repairs, as well as offshore projects.
Concerns that the cranes would be demolished were laid to rest when later the same year they were scheduled as historic monuments under the 1995 Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order. Whilst not technically ‘listed buildings’. Samson and Goliath are recognised as buildings of ‘architectural or historic interest’ by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock