Mark’s History: Debunking the Rodley-Titanic cranes myth


I read some comments on the Facebook group Farsley Memories and they made mention that part of the Titanic had been built in Rodley and that cranes built in Rodley had been used when the Titanic was constructed, writes Mark Stevenson.

knew that the cranes built at Thomas Smith and Sons in Rodley were world famous and used in building projects all over the worldm such as in the building of Tower Bridge, Manchester Ship Canal and the Aswan Dam. 

With a bit of digging I soon realised that none of the Titanic had been built in Rodley and that the Cranes bought by Harland & Wolff were first purchased in the 1940s to help with the war effort. The Titanic was built in 1909 so the dates did not match. 

Harland & Wolff were to purchase three Steam Cranes from Thomas Smith and Sons in total and they were to be in service right up until 1989.  

In 2002 the Steam Cranes or the “Wee” Cranes as they came to be known were to have cameo roles in the film Reign of Fire.

The Titanic Foundation has a 25-year lease on the Wee Cranes and is looking at options for their future use. 


  1. Wouldn’t the perfect home for these ‘Wee Cranes’ be the Armley Industrial Museum or, if still workable, Middleton Railway?


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