The Gorbals Community Group (Old Gorbals Pictures & Heritage Group) had approached Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in 2015 seeking technical assistance with their project. They are currently working with many organisations and political bodies exploring the possibility of recreating an old lost Gorbals landmark monument, the Gorbals Cross clock tower and drinking fountain. This landmark was removed in 1932/3 for the expansion and upgrade to the tram system.
Unfortunately, the original drawings and measurements that would normally be used to help recreate the monument were lost, and there are no other existing records or documents of the structure.
The group discovered, however, that there is an exact copy of the monument on the island of St Kitts, in the Caribbean, the only surviving piece of four originally cast.
Stevie Anderson and Eddie Horn, from GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment, visited the replica through funding from Historic Scotland, to draw up measurements of the original tower, using state-of-the-art, innovative 3D laser scanning techniques. They were then able to combine the laser scans with photogrammetry data to obtain higher resolution than is currently available from commercial sources. This visualisation process, partly funded by pooled Scottish Funding Council Innovation Vouchers* awarded to George Taylor & Co, a foundry in Hamilton, and Wireframe Immersive, a 3D visualisation company, will pave the way for a new and innovative interpretation of the previous landmark.
The two businesses that were awarded these Innovation Vouchers are quite different in terms of adoption of digital media and new technology. George Taylor & Co. (Hamilton) Ltd rely on traditional foundry manufacturing processes which have remained relatively unchanged. Wireframe Immersive is a digital media company whose products are almost exclusively created using cutting-edge digital media tools and techniques. This project enabled cross fertilisation of ideas and innovation between two very different companies and the use of the same 3D scanning and photogrammetry data to develop products for new and unique market sectors.
George Taylor & Co
For George Taylor & Co, this higher resolution dataset of the existing monument will help produce accurate, detailed 2D technical production drawings and 3D printed models, allowing for an accurate costing and bid for future stages of the manufacture of the monument.
The company recognises the potential for new technologies investigated through the partnership could lead to new market strategies and improved business opportunities gained from the collaboration on this project, and, in the short term, are investigating the potential to manufacture scaled replicas of the Gorbals Cross monument to market and sell.
“Thanks to the funding from the Scottish Funding Council Innovation Vouchers, we at George Taylor & Co. (Hamilton) Ltd and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have produced an accurate costing for the replacement of the monument in the Gorbals. At the same time, we have gained a lot of knowledge about 3D scanning and printing which is an exciting and innovative technology. We worked well with GCU and would trust that at some point in the future, we will team up again”, said Douglas Kerr, Commercial Director, George Taylor & Co.
“George Taylor and Sons recognise the benefits of keeping in touch with the latest technologies. This project certainly gave the company an interesting opportunity to engage with university expertise and allowed us to investigate the opportunities for these technologies that we would not otherwise have engaged with”, noted Stevie Anderson, GCU.
Wireframe Immersive can engage with the 3D scanned data to create Virtual Reality (VR) simulations of both the past installation and potential future in-situ reconstruction of the lost monument. The use of VR simulations and real-time simulations from the 3D Laser scanned Heritage monument will raise community awareness and help fundraise for the future manufacture of the monument.
As a result of this project, Wireframe Immersive have employed a graduate student to look at the Heritage market as a new market, with longer-term full employment a strong possibility.
Glasgow Caledonian University
From the University’s perspective, the development of a project with two businesses made it extremely beneficial in terms of developing industrial links and maintaining insight into current industry practice.
Applying technologies in which GCU have developed knowledge and expertise to the benefit of the businesses also proved favourable in terms of staff development and creating teaching material (case studies) for students.
Giving real world examples of industrial applications of modern technologies has proven to be valuable for students learning the latest technologies being taught at university level.
The project partners are now investigating additional mutually beneficial projects, based on joint expertise and a new understanding of skills and technologies which were gained from working together on the Gorbals Cross project.
"Applying for the pooled funding allowed all partners to work together on a project that probably would not have gone ahead if single funding was the only option", said Stevie.
The Community Group
The Community Group has benefited from the project by engaging with the University partner to realise the project aims and objectives at this stage. The ability to obtain the more accurate quotation from the Foundry partner, George Taylor and Co, has allowed a more realistic appraisal of the intent to reinstate the lost Historic monument within the local area.
They are now seeking to engage with educational institutions on this and other projects currently in the pipeline for the benefit of communities across Scotland.
* Up to four businesses can apply together to pool their Innovation Vouchers to solve a common issue.