Abseiling stonemason helps cathedral create ‘most digitally recorded historic building ever’
- Credit: © Terry Harris
In the words of that timeless hymn it looked at first glance to be a case of ‘nearer, My God, to thee’.
However stonemason Kate Holmes abseiling down the west front of Peterborough Cathedral was spending two days producing high resolution laser scans.
The cathedral says the result will not only supply safer and more cost-effective access to information for maintenance and repair purposes “but also a rich and inspiring educational resource for schools at a time when field trips seem like a thing of the past.”
The scans can also generate 3D printing and the first concept is that some of the statues Kate scanned on the west front, with other carved details on the building, will become part of a limited-edition Peterborough Cathedral chess set, reproduced in cast stone resin.
A drone was used to criss-cross the west front in a grid pattern to capture added data.
The hi-tech scanning was carried out by a team from Architectural & Heritage Scanning Ltd.
They have also been scanning all aspects, inside and out, from the most inaccessible parts of the roof and clerestory, to the Saxon foundations in the under croft.
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Technical director Graham Sykes said: “We think that Peterborough Cathedral may well be the most digitally recorded historic building ever at this point, with 16 billion data points and over 30,000 images.
“Similar work has been carried out at Notre Dame Cathedral and at Westminster Abbey but this is not quite so in-depth as we have used a wider range of scanners and methods to capture distinct levels of detail.
“We see the project as a unique case study or test piece to assess what can be achieved. We’ve loved every minute of it and it has been a privilege to work on such a magnificent building.”
Dave Cramp, commercial director of Peterborough Cathedral said: “We are already at the preliminary stages of working on ideas for how we can use these very life-like images and fly-through videos.”
He said the potential for virtual tours, increased accessibility, and tailored objects for sale in our shop “is also very exciting.”
A few more visits from A & H Scanning Ltd are needed to complete the project, which is expected to be concluded at the end of the summer.