Star date: 23rd October 2013 


`This is cultural and historic vandalism'

This weekend, the iconic blue cargo cranes at Salford Quays are set to be demolished by Salford Council, their death warrant signed by City Mayor, Ian Stewart.

Here, Nigel Pivaro, former Coronation Street star, freelance journalist for the Sunday and Daily Mirror and Catholic Herald, and regular Salford Star contributor, tells Stewart "to think again about the cranes demolition, even at one minute to midnight. Do you really want this destruction to be the legacy of your leadership?"

Full details here…

What is Salford Star on about? Always sounding off, and here we go once again…about a poxy pair of twin cranes standing, as if on guard, over Salford's legacy as a major sea port.

So what? It's only steel and glass, and a last vestige of 120 years of maritime history.

So what? People working and visiting the Quays (don't say `Docks') will now be able to come without their sensibilities being troubled, or informed that this nice shiny acreage was anything else but home to studios, retail outlets, offices and apartments.

The black waters lapping below the pontoons and quayside walls will present an existential question - if those waters are not for the benefit of the shoppers and job centre visitors then why are they here? Are they just a big drain for the collective waters of the South Pennine hills? Are they anything other than an overgrown fish tank to soothe the crowded minds of TV execs as they stare into their creative abyss…the default decor to facilitate maximum creativity... or at least the impression of it?

Consider the difference with Liverpool, and its Maritime Museum and current Titanic exhibition, which I visited recently while over there to see family…

The Museum is housed in former dock buildings standing on the dock piers, whose waters are chock full of - now here's a surprise - boats. Old boats, new boats, working boats and pleasure boats. 

Liverpool, a great harbour - which admittedly has some 150 years on Manchester as a port - has tapped into its maritime past and made it a virtue.

That past has left it with an amazing architectural legacy of superb Georgian and Victorian built warehouses and customs buildings. It is one of the few things that Liverpool has going for it, but boy do they take a pride in it. Preserved buildings, cranes, lifting gear, museums and heritage trails, mixed in with a little Beatles shmoltz.

Sunday morning, and it was packed full of people taking in this vibrant monument to what made Liverpool and sustained its people. The whole area was a testimony to the watery history of Liverpool and its river, and the boats continue to demonstrate to current generations the utility of the water to the city.

In Salford the average visitor would see the water as nasty inconvenience and barrier to their journey between the Imperial War Museum and The Lowry theatre. Every vestige of our rich and intense maritime history that was, up until thirty years ago, the life blood of thousands of workers and residents has been eradicated.

The listed customs house, the dock sheds, grain silos, cranes all demolished.
Four of the five dock berths occupying Pomona Docks filled in with building waste. Given the redevelopment we could not preserve it all in aspic but to lose all trace is cultural and historic vandalism.

Keen observers of the canal and the port, such as myself, couldn't fail to notice the 5,000 tonne Alana Elvita discharging its cargo just by The Lowry recently. The ocean going ship had transported six massive brewing silos for Harp Lager, and they managed offload them just by the skin of their teeth. Had they not been able to discharge those huge stainless steel silos, the size of Saturn rockets, they would have had to been low-loaded from Liverpool to Moss Side with all the incumbent road chaos that would have entailed.

The point is that it just goes to show what an amazing facility this is. Furthermore, when it's gone, it's gone and there's no going back. It's the same with these cranes. When they're gone, they're gone and it will cost millions of pounds to put something of a similar stature and resonance in their place in the future. That's why it's completely short sighted to demolish them.

Now instead of demolishing the last monument to that rich history, for want of £25,000, we should be adding to it. A Manchester liner berthed up, working models of the discharging and loading of cargo, the trade routes, a statue to a merchant seaman, a docker… this would be a brilliant educational picture encompassing Salford's economic, geographical and maritime connection to the rest of the world. 

Don't tell me that for all the spurious objects of council expenditure twenty five grand could not be found down the back of the Mayor's settee? Of course it could, if there was a will!  But Ian Stewart - like the other great vandal of Salford's identity John Merry - is not a Salfordian.

Like Merry, he is an outsider. They have no emotional connection to our older neighbourhoods, pubs, public buildings and industrial heritage. That does not forgive them for the destruction. Especially when they are confronted by what cities like Bristol, Hartlepool and Liverpool have done with their redundant docklands.

Ian Stewart, I ask you to think again about the cranes demolition, even at one minute to midnight. `Do you really want this destruction to be the legacy of your leadership?'

How important is it? Extremely! I ask you, `What is a city without a seaport to the rest of the world?' I will tell you...`Birmingham'....

I rest my case.
• The Salford Quays cranes are set to be demolished by Salford Council this weekend, and replaced by a mobile phone app costing £150,000.

• Ironically, as these iconic heritage items are being trashed, this weekend also sees a Quays Culture Open Day at MediaCityUK and The Lowry. Quays Culture is the organisation which is creating the £150,000 app to replace the cranes.

For full details and background see previous Salford Star article – click here.

* Nigel Pivaro is the guest speaker at the Nineteen Eight-Four themed benefit night for the Salford Star and blacklisting campaigner, George Tapp on Thursday 21st November. Tickets are £10 (£5 unwaged) and the price includes a full meal at top Asian restaurant Saffron's in Cheetham Hill. Further details to follow or email info@salfordstar.com 

Update 27th October 2013 - Salford Quays Cranes Trashed in £100,000 Execution - click here

Salford Lad wrote
at 19:35:51 on 28 December 2014
Anyone know what happened to the app ? Does it even work ? Is there even an app ?
Keith wrote
at 21:27:30 on 27 October 2013
Has anybody seen the tenders quotations and engineers reports to support the £1m figure being quoted, there was also figures being quoted of 3k per week to maintain them, I live on the Quays and saw no evidence of maintenance to support this figure. any evidence can be obtained under 'freedom of information' I am damn sure I could have saved these at a fraction of the costs being quoted !! I am a building professional and I do not believe the sums these fools were quoting. This decision will come back to haunt these numpties! If they really wanted to save money, perhaps getting rid of the 13 deputy mayors would have been a good place to start.
the silent majority wrote
at 08:04:38 on 26 October 2013
Please dont destroy these iconic cranes, it will be a very sad day for salford if it goes ahead.i will be there sunday morning to voice my views, if you feel the same you should be there to.
Michael Felse wrote
at 06:06:15 on 25 October 2013
Good Ideas, Am happy to see any colour of a rainbow and rename each Dock-Crane "Jack - Jill - or Benny". Labour, Peel and the BBC are missing the marketing dream of a generation. Our Mayor deserves to be cast out of office.
Salford Star wrote
at 06:05:11 on 25 October 2013
See Worzel's comment below...Not you again. OK - Salford Council had the money to refurbish the cranes ringfenced from way before the cuts. It was ringfenced for `capital' expenditure which is one-off funds for things like buildings. Instead, the Council is taking that money and spending it on a mobile phone app, and, we believe, the Biospheric `pea farm' copyright Salford Council). Elsewhere, the Council is about to spend £1.9m on a new Crescent bridge etc etc. All this while trashing a vital part of Salford's heritage. It's the ultimate symbolic slap in the face for the city's community. The £22m Council-funded AJ Bell Stadium - the Council lost the words `community' and `Salford' from its title - has a financial history stuffed with, we believe, dodgy deals that need investigating. There's no comparison between the cranes and the stadium - apart from the trashing of Salford's heritage on one side, and building new sites that cost fortunes and don't even carry the name of Salford.
Worzel wrote
at 05:45:08 on 25 October 2013
But wouldn't this be TAX PAYERS MONEY to fund this? I mean this same site condemns the AJ Bell Stadium yet has the chutzpah to feature this??? lol
Mr. Concerned wrote
at 19:07:00 on 24 October 2013
I was listening to LDOK.net @ 1pm and the crane issue was discussed in detail. I think that the amount of copper within the old cranes transmission system, would pay for a basic refit of the cranes. And as I have stated in the Salford Stars last article concerning these cranes, the price of making them safe and attractive has been drastically overstated by the council. If they were being refitted to be put back in action as lifting machinery once again, then they would need to be dismantled, however as a rigid artistic monument, all the moving parts could be arc welded, and the cranes structure reinforced. I liked the suggestion of the LDOK.net presenter A.J. Valliant, that the cranes could be painted Pink, as this is the color for Salford, and it would promote that Salford is accepting of other sexualities. In conclusion instead of knocking these impressive structures down, they could in fact be refurbished cheaply, and made to represent not only our industrial heritage, but also how accepting Salfordians are of other sexualities. We can be the first city in the UK to have such a monument. Maybe that is something the mayor can think about.
Alexander James Valliant wrote
at 19:05:54 on 24 October 2013
I am delighted that the listeners of our 80's Radio Show on LDOK.net Radio have listened to what me and Vikki had to say, concerning the Salford Quay's cranes, and I was especially delighted by the response we had at the station, when I said maybe we could paint them pink as an artistic monument, to represent how Salfordians support and acknowledge other sexualities. Well done Nigel for using your personal credibility and professional personality status, in an attempt to save these fantastic monuments, which represent a part of Salford's historic industrial heritage.
Bill & Billness wrote
at 14:27:53 on 24 October 2013
Just been listening to LDOK Radio based in Salford Quays and their discussion on the cranes, has led to one conclusion ... THEY SHOULD BE PAINTED PINK TO REPRESENT SALFORD, and the monument stating that Salford is excepting of all genders.
I will be demonstrating this weekend... try and stop me wrote
at 13:03:31 on 24 October 2013
I know it may be difficult for people to get down there this weekend but at least lets try to show our support and go, it won't help no... but we need the to support and make Ian Stewarts' decision the worst one he has ever made
waynertrainer wrote
at 13:03:27 on 24 October 2013
Where are the people's representation and voices? Is it really that bad in Salford? I am in Manchester, I'd imagine if these were in Castlefield they'd be done up and sprayed silver by Manchester Council, with a proud logo on the side. I don't think Salford has a vision of what it is anymore, what ever happened to the Totem Pole?, was that taken away and destroyed. I think the future is in Manchesterford, 'cause, if you don't care about Salford's culture and history, rest assured Manchester won't!
Michael Felse wrote
at 13:02:54 on 24 October 2013
The BBC should be kicked out of Salford for failing to run reports on the fate of Salford Dock Cranes at their new home's doorstep. This is a life statement that they are blind to local community pride. Multi-Million £'s of public money invested in the BBC move claimed Salford will get jobs but the BBC seem to be showing no interest in the urgent campaigns of local people. I fear the BBC into Salford was one very big mistake. We had expected much more for our trust.
I'll make a cheesecake when Ian Stewart resigns wrote
at 07:14:43 on 24 October 2013
Excellent article, Nigel. The comparison with Liverpool is perceptive, accurate, and humbling. Well done to you and to the Star.
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:14:38 on 24 October 2013
Another crime against our heritage and our history. Soon there will be nothing left.Shame on this council for allowing this to happen.
blocked user wrote
at 20:55:51 on 23 October 2013
@Keeley Bury, ohhh don't go askin questions like that you might get blocked from Kimjong's twitter account. That's what Kimjong Salford does when you start asking awkward questions.
Matt wrote
at 20:55:30 on 23 October 2013
Liverpool dockworkers were amajor player in the downf all of Salford dock's any excuse for a strike Millitants
Chaz wrote
at 18:52:31 on 23 October 2013
Well said Nigel, I'll put it in even plainer English...its social cleansing. And by a Labour council which makes it all the more abhorrent
Sue Grimditch Tour Guide wrote
at 18:52:27 on 23 October 2013
Nigel, You are wrong about the average visitor, I'm a tour guide and I can can assure you people are fascinated by the story of the building of the Manchester Ship Canal and Salford's Inland Docks, the history of Manchester Liners and the world's shipping lines that carried cargoes into and out of Salford Docks. The women crane drivers keeping the docks working when the men were called up to fight in the FIRST world war. The merchant seamen and Manchester Liners part played in both world wars. The cranes should be kept, restored and be the catalyst for a Heritage Centre telling the story, bringing more visitors and creating jobs. If only the Mayor and Salford Council were as far sighted as the Victorian pioneers that built the docks. They must give local groups time to apply for HLF or to raise funding from other sources. Today just across from Trafford Wharf are many international visitors here for football, visiting fans, national and international visitors that I take on walks and boat tours are fascinated by the story of Salford's docks. Sadly the mayor and Urban Vision are ignorant of the assets sitting on their doorstep! They are so stupid to spend money on an App and a commuter boat service instead of preserving the heritage of the docks.
Dave Jackson wrote
at 16:14:16 on 23 October 2013
Absolute disgrace another piece of salfords rich heritage torn down and for what?and done right under the nose of the people albeit back handedly shocking Ian Stewart you should hang your head in shame an absolute disgrace as a salfordian!!! A new mayor is needed I think someone who actually has salfords interest at heart an not that of peel holdings???
Keeley Bury wrote
at 16:13:51 on 23 October 2013
Well said Nigel!! I tweeted the major last night to ask him on his thoughts about them being demolished on Salford Quays day of Culture..his tweet back to me..simply said cant afford them #nobrainer... Well thankyou for your intellectual answer Major Stewart
Michael Felse wrote
at 14:00:45 on 23 October 2013
@DockersSun - well someone needs to tell UrbanVision. QUICK - cos 15 minuets ago I went to photo the cranes for my history book and guess what - about 30 yellow coat Urban Vision guys at the base of the cranes. Now I may be from Yorkshire but a spade tells something.
Michael Felse wrote
at 13:38:52 on 23 October 2013
Well said Nigel - power to your elbow on this one.
Dockers Son wrote
at 13:38:47 on 23 October 2013
SALFORD DOCKLANDS HERITAGE & NATURE GROUP PRESS RELEASE: MAYOR APPEARS TO DO U-TURN In a BIG apparent U-turn the Mayor of Salford, Mr Ian Stewart, has told a member of the Salford Docklands Heritage & Nature Group that the group can SAVE THE CRANES The actual message to the member states It will cost a million pounds to make them (the cranes) safe. We are facing £75 million cuts to services, which will hit some vulnerable people in salford. If you can raise that money, you can save the cranes. We can’t afford to do that. If the Mayor is true to his word then this should mean that the demolition of the cranes is cancelled and the Salford Docklands Heritage & Nature Group shall be writing to the Mayor today to ask for clarification of this statement Throughout the political process our group has been somewhat confused that “austerity” has been brought in as a reason for the cranes being prepared for demolition as the whole purpose of the Community Preservation Order is that heritage assets are transferred to the ownership of community groups It is our belief that if the Council had understood and acted in the interests of the Community Preservation Order legislation that we would have been sitting down in a meeting with them in the Spring when the Community Preservation Order was submitted and we would have been given the time to compile a business plan and funding strategy However, this has not been the case, and the Council has ignored us during the political process and cut a deal, quite literally, behind our backs, with Quays Culture for the mobile phone app that we believe would cost the Council MORE money than if they had transferred the cranes to public ownership to restore, conserve and promote them It should also be noted that the Council did not officially inform the Salford Docklands Heritage & Nature Group that the cranes were scheduled for demolition this Friday, surely this is, yet again, against the legislation of the Community Preservation Order We implore everyone who wants the cranes saving to keep the political pressure up on the Council and, to that aim, we distribute this list of ways to contact the council to make your views felt, we also suggest speaking to as many Councillors as you possibly can about this To contact the Council http://www.salford.gov.uk/contactcitymayor.htm Contact the Mayor http://www.salford.gov.uk/contacts.htm Main Switchboard 0161-909-6540 Comments & Complaints It must be noted that many possible avenues of funding for the cranes have been suggested, for example, at least one company has come forward to do a restoration job at mates rates, there is also the Heritage Lottery Fund who make millions of pounds out of people who do the lottery, including many people from Salford, there are numerous big business around Salford who make huge amounts of money out of the people of Salford and could contribute, plus the Save Our Cranes campaign has seen many concerned citizens make offers of volunteering and expertise
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