The Crane Works

These works were originally established in 1820 by a partnership comprising Jeremiah Booth, David Smith and Jeremiah Balmforth who were millwrights and house furnishers by profession. Initially they produced stone cutting equipment, hand-operated cranes and winches used in local quarries.

In 1847 Mr Booth left to set up his own company which became known as Joseph Booth and Brothers of the Union Crane Works, Rodley. The remaining partnership of Smith and Balmforth continued until 1861 when Thomas Smith, David's son took control of the business. The focus of this company was on the construction of cranes and excavators. Projects where their plant operated included the London Underground, Manchester Ship Canal, Mersy Tunnel, Zambesi Bridge, Victoria Falls Bridge and the Assouan Dam.

Both crane works operated successfully, side by side and adjoining the Leeds Liverpool Canal,  for over a century before a series of mergers took place. Boothes was taken over by Clyde Crane in the 1960s and became part of the Clarke Chapman group. In 1977 this group became part of the Northern Engineering Industries Plc. Shortly afterwards in 1978 Thomas Smith was absorbed by the Northern Engineering Industries. Further mergers saw Northern Engineering Industries taken over by Rolls Royce in 1989 and by Langley Holdings in 2001.

The end result of all these mergers has led to the closure of the Union Crane Works and its demolition in 1999 to make way for housing. Regarding the Thomas Smith Crane works only the old Foundry building remains and is used by various industrial businesses.

Old Foundry Building which was part of the Thomas Smith & Sons Crane Works

Residential units built on the former site of the Union Crane Works

Return to the map Part 2 - Newlay canal bridge to Apperley Bridge, click the blue button

Return to the West Leeds Country Park and Green Gateways home page, click the green button

West Leeds Country Park Part 2 - Newlay canal bridge to Apperley Bridge