NS2775 : The Cut sculpture, Broomhill

taken 2 years ago, near to Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland

The Cut sculpture, Broomhill
The Cut sculpture, Broomhill
The Cut sculpture, Broomhill, Greenock

Located at the corner of Ann Street and Prospecthill Street, this is one of the works created by Rig Arts under their ‘Up the Broomy’ artist residence scheme (artist Alan Potter).

Unveiled in 2018, it represents Broomhill in the centre, surrounded by pillars which descend in height, supporting 'the cut', an old aqueduct which supplied water power to local industry in Broomhill until the early 1970s. The tallest pillar is topped by a mosaic which represents Loch Thom, which is the source of the water for the cut. Each of the other pillars is topped by a cast bronze relief sculpture, each of which depicts one of the industries that were served by The Cut (rope works, sugar refinery, wool mill, paper mill, cotton mill, iron foundry and whisky distillery).

The words "The power of water - nature's great gift" form a mosaic concentric ring within the pillars and around the dome which represents Broomhill.

The sculpture is made almost entirely from recycled material from former Broomhill buildings.

Rig Arts: LinkExternal link
Broomhill History: LinkExternal link
Alan Potter (sculptor): LinkExternal link

Shaws Water Works

Shaws Water Works, or Shaws Water Scheme as it is sometimes known, is a water supply system which was constructed in and around Greenock in the early 19th Century. The scheme takes its name from Shaws Water, a stream which ran in the vicinity of what is now the north bank of Loch Thom.

The scheme was built at the request of local landowner Sir Michael Shaw Stewart by Robert Thom who had experience of providing water power to his nearby Rothesay cotton mills on the Isle of Bute. The aim of the scheme was to bring water to the rapidly expanding town for drinking as well as for industrial use.

Greenock's most famous son James Watt had already provided a water supply scheme during the late 18th Century, but this was inadequate and often dried up completely during periods of dry weather. Watt and his colleague in that scheme (John Rennie) had previously stated that a scheme such as that planned by Thom was impractical owing to the need to get water around the high line of hills to the south of the town.

The scheme was opened in 1827, with a second branch being added in 1846. At its peak, the system supplied many industries in the east end of the town, around the present day Lynedoch Street, Drumfrochar Road, Dellingburn Street and Baker Street, with a branch extending further east beyond Baker Street to Cartsburn.

The served industries included a paper mill at what is now Papermill Road, sugar refineries at Lynedoch Street/Drumfrochar Road, various Ropeworks at Lynedoch Street and later at Peat Road, a distillery at Baker Street, a worsted yarn mill at Peat Road, a charcoal works (related to the sugar industry) on Baker Street, several foundries around Dellingburn Street, a rice mill and several flax and sailcloth mills.

Most of these industries have now gone or are no longer using water from the scheme, but most of the scheme survives reasonably intact today in the form of the Greenock Cut Link which is the main aqueduct bringing water from Loch Thom to the east end of the town.

Within the town itself, there can be seen many traces of the aqueducts and tunnels which still run with water and which are still maintained to avoid flooding of the town.

The scheme supplied Greenock with drinking water until as recently as 1971 at which time a tunnel was blasted through the hill from Loch Thom to Prospecthill.

It's ironic that such a system was installed and thrived in the home town of James Watt, the father of steam power, who was born a short walk from the aqueducts in the lower parts of the town.

Sources and further reading can be found at...

Sylvia Clark's excellent 1976 report on the Renfrewshire Local History Forum web site LinkExternal link

The Engineering Timelines web site LinkExternal link

Google Books free online book "A Brief Account of the Shaws Water Scheme and Present (1829) State of the Works" LinkExternal link

Inverclyde sculptures

Inverclyde District, on the south bank of the Firth of Clyde, is home to many modern sculptures, many of which were commissioned by the local Urban Regeneration Company Riverside Inverclyde LinkExternal link to brighten up and help delineate the approaches to the towns of Port Glasgow, Greenock and Gourock.

Other significant sculptures can be found along the Clyde waterfront and also on National Cycle Network Routes 75 and 753 which run through the district.

In addition to these modern sculptures, there are a number of more traditional statues to be found, including one of the District's most famous son, James Watt.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Suburb, Urban fringe Primary Subject: Sculpture
This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · Cut Sculpture [3] Title Clusters: · The Cut sculpture, Broomhill [3] ·
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1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
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NS2775, 419 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Thomas Nugent   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Monday, 22 August, 2022   (more nearby)
Saturday, 27 August, 2022
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 274 756 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.5648N 4:45.8389W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 274 756
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
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Image Type (about): close look 
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