The Scarborough Exhibition of the
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
– Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design
Contribution to the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Tour
The September 2016 Scarborough Exhibition of the 305-panel Scottish Diaspora Tapestry was definitely unique. In the Thomas Telford Engineering Challenge, senior high school student teams were invited to design a thirty-six-foot long model of the central unsupported span of the Menai Suspension Bridge by which the entire Tapestry could (theoretically!) be hung at the Scarborough Exhibition. The Menai bridge – arguably the world’s first modern suspension bridge -- was designed by Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford (ca 1820). Telford had apprenticed as a stone mason in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, alongside the Thomson brothers who later settled in Scarborough. The Thomas Telford Engineering Challenge will get students to practise the kinds of thinking that Telford probably used in order to “come up with this new kind” of longer-span bridge. Following his presentation at the Education Conference of Professional Engineers Ontario this past May (2016), an article about this design challenge was written by a grade 12 Scarborough student from SATEC@W.A.Porter CI. Have a look at the SATEC summer newsletter at http://satecatwaporter.ca/events/uncategorized/summer-newsletter/.
Telford’s Menai Bridge, Wales
At the Scarborough exhibition, two hundred and forty panels of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry were hung from D.B. McCowan's model of the Menai Suspension bridge:
Partial assembly of the 36 foot long wooden
model of Telford's Menai Suspension Bridge
Bill and Bruce McCowan milled the pine,
poplar, ash, maple and black cherry
A load of white pine in the solar
Crib corner joints: threaded rods
running in two directions must not interfere
Cherry pulley sheave at the top of a tower.
deckbeam was hoisted from three points – the two ends and dead-centre.
Notching of the deckbeam lateral ties.
to 2,000 people viewed the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry during the
Also in recognition of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, a special panel by Diane McCowan was added to the exhibition -- Scarborough Scots: Vision, Creativity and Innovation.