We woke on Monday morning (in Staniland Marina) to bright sunshine and the sound of an interesting engine being started. In the wind and rain over the weekend I had paid scant attention to the old boat in the open dry dock. It was now being manoeuvred out of the dock. She appeared to be a form of Humber barge or Mersey flat. In fact when I went over and asked the skipper, the boat was much more interesting. She was a converted crane dredger that had spent most of her long life (built 1936) around the Goole area with either a mounted crane on a turntable on the front deck, or with a tracked crane. In both configurations she used side mounted pontoons for stability that were towed to each job. 

Maggie onboard Cranbridge

Grab Dredger No. 1, as she was called for most of her working life, was purchased a few years ago by her present owner as a restoration project and the crane mechanism removed and replaced by a low profile cabin. That gives  her very neat lines. She is not complete, in that she has not been fitted out, but she is in great condition and certainly looks the part. I gather she was in the Staniland dry dock for an insurance inspection which she passed with flying colours. Cranbridge is powered by a Gardner 6L engine which sits below deck in the engine room with between a pair of cylindrical diesel tanks.

Gardner 6L

The removable tall exhaust above decks has a pair of handles so it can be removed for bridges. The wheel operated steering includes a large rudder that with her power must make her manoeuvrable.

Stern gear of Cranbridge

The owner has produced a board giving details of the history of Cranbridge. As you will see the Gardner engine replaced a 5 cylinder McLaren.

Interpretation board giving details of the history of Cranbridge

Why is she now called Cranbridge? It appears that this because of a misreading of Crane Barge which led the owner to realise that it would make a good name for the boat. Unfortunately  Cranbridge is for sale. I do hope she has a new owner that can finish the project in style. She is a great boat with good lines despite her bluff bow.

Bows of Cranbridge