The Titan crane

The 100-year-old Titan crane, rising above the site of the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, has been opened to the public.

A platform on the jib 150ft above the River Clyde is accessible by lift or by staircase, giving views down-river to the Firth of Clyde or up-river to Glasgow. Display boards give a sense of how bustling this whole area once was, with thousands of workmen building massive ships such as the Queen Mary, which was launched here in 1934.

Whereas modern visitors are caged in, the workmen of old would have walked along open girders with only a small railing to protect them.

"The Titan crane put the boilers and propellers into the great ships like the QE2 and the Queen Mary that were built here at John Brown's yard," says Eleanor McAllister, managing director of Clyde Re-built.

"The crane is the only relic of the great shipbuilding past in Clydebank and was used for fitting-out the ships. They would have been launched down the slipways into the River Cart, then guided and piloted round into this flotation basin. That's when the Titan would really have got to work with all the other cranes, putting in the boilers, putting in the big pieces of equipment that are necessary to make a ship seaworthy."

The Titan was built in 1906-07 at a cost of £24,000. It was the embodiment of heavy industry, its cogs and cables capable of lifting hundreds of tonnes when ships were being fitted out.

www.titanclydebank.com