Samson and Goliath cranes in the Harland and Woolf ship yard that dominate the Belfast skyline.

The two great canary yellow-painted gantry cranes are icons of the Belfast city skyline are known as Samson and Goliath.

Goliath is the smaller crane measuring 96m (315ft) high began work in 1969 and Samson, the larger at 106m (348ft), five years later. They were designed by the German firm Krupp-Ardelt and can lift loads of up to 840 tons.

The cranes are named after horses that worked in the shipyard.

Now much beloved Belfast landmarks, their own future was assured in 2003 when they were scheduled for preservation.

Harland and Wolff were still one of the world’s great shipbuilders at the time they were built and Harland & Wolff employed 35,000 employees but in the years following the cranes’ construction the workforce and business declined. The last ship to be launched at the yard to date was a ferry in 2003.

Since then the yard has focused on ship repair, offshore construction projects (e.g. wind turbines, oil rigs) and competing for other projects to do with metal engineering and construction.

Do you want to learn more about the history of Belfast? See these HMS Caroline on my Titanic Quarter & Maritime Belfast tour!