Portland is a small island – approximately 4 miles x 1.7 miles – off the south coast of Dorset, England, and is joined to the mainland by a barrier causeway. Throughout the centuries Portland has been famous for producing high quality Jurassic limestone used in the construction of major public buildings including, for example, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The quarrying industry began in the early seventeenth century and cranes, such as the one below, were used to load boats for shipping the stone from quays around the coast to destinations at home and abroad. A rail link with the mainland was eventually built in 1865. As the cranes became ‘redundant’ in the early twentieth century they were (and still are) used by fishermen to lower their boats from the cliff tops.