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Venetian visitors to Swing Bridge

How many people know that there is an important example of British engineering in Venice? The Armstrong Mitchell Hydraulic Crane No. 2919, dated 1883, built in Newcastle for the Arsenal in Venice remains a rare example of Britain’s great industrial past.

The last survivor of nine great hydraulic cranes made by the British manufacturer Armstrong, Mitchell and Co. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the crane was commissioned in 1883 by the Italian Navy as part of a plan to enlarge and modernise the Venice Arsenal.

‘Venice in Peril’ is a conservation group set up to manage various restoration projects in Venice and not surprisingly the group has decided to embark on restoration of the Armstrong Mitchell Crane, the only remaining model of its type and an important part of the heritage of Venice.

On the 19th May visitors from Venice in Peril hope to learn from other successful Armstrong Mitchell restoration projects at Cragside in Northumberland and also to understand how the Port of Tyne maintains and preserves the Swing Bridge, built by Lord Armstrong in 1876.

Nicky Baly Director of Venice in Peril says "The restoration of industrial archaeology is not widely practised in Italy and the purpose of our trip is to show how successful it can be in terms of restoration, regeneration, education and general historical preservation".

Brain Reeve Chief Technical Officer of the Port of Tyne adds "We are delighted to be welcoming visitors from Venice. The Swing Bridge, manned and maintained by the Port, remains in perfect working order and also provides a vital River Tyne crossing".

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