“Colin, can you help us restore a crane?” Now, there’s a request you don’t get every day!
Community giving is a topic that is close to my heart and central to the ethos of The Channel Islands Co-operative. We take our social responsibilities seriously and try to support as many charity and community projects as we can; last year we invested around £200,000 supporting a wide variety of schemes to enrich our islands.
One of the most extraordinary projects that your Society became involved with was the restoration of the Herm Crane.
Herm became a centre for granite quarrying in the 1800s, back when Britain entered the Industrial Revolution. Herm’s tough blue granite was famously supplied for the maintenance of the London Bridge, and the granite was moved from shore to ship with the help of a little five tonne crane.
The Herm Crane toiled for over 130 years before it was finally dismantled and taken to Guernsey in 1997, where it sat for a number of years tired, rusty and rotting.
Herm crane before being dismantled and shipped to Guernsey in 1997.
In 2013 The National Trust of Guernsey, whose aim it is to preserve and enhance the Island's natural beauty, historic buildings and heritage, decided they did not want to see this part of Herm’s picture postcard image and integral part of the Island’s history to be lost, so they took on the Herm Crane as a restoration project.
‘Herm Island’ postcard with the crane still in situ at the end of the harbour wall.
We were delighted when The National Trust of Guernsey approached the Society and told us of their plans to restore the crane back to its former glory and ship it back to its rightful Bailiwick home.
We felt this was such a worthwhile project that we donated £5,000 from our Helping Hands Fund to assist in celebrating Herm’s commercial history and returning the crane back home where both the local community and visitors could appreciate its contribution.
The fully restored Herm Crane.
It was a big task to take the crane home, but it felt like a great achievement when we finally placed the crane back within its community, overlooking the harbour where it had worked for so many years.
So, next time you visit Herm, go to see the crane and take a moment to think, it’s good to give a little something back.
Special thanks to the team at The National Trust of Guernsey for all their work in co-ordinating this restoration.
To find out more about the little Island of Herm, why not watch this video guide