Canal encounters

By Craig McIntyre,

In 2016, Four-by-Two was appointed by Scottish Canals to undertake a creative role in an ambitious project that would see a 4 mile stretch of canal reimagined. The project aim is to improve the amenity of the Forth and Clyde Canal corridor from The Falkirk Wheel to the Helix Park and the Kelpies.

Unlocking stories of the canal through interpretation and large-scale environmental public art was one of the main objectives of the project. Working with the Heritage Team at Scottish Canals, we identified significant sites along stretches of the canal where commercial business once thrived on an industrial scale.

We selected two areas of importance: Rosebank Distillery and Lock 3 at Bainsford where we would celebrate the rich heritage and integrity of a working canal.

The subject of our designs reflects the time-honoured skills that once helped shape life along the canal and exported to the world. Rosebank Distillery operated for more than 150 years producing one of Scotland’s finest Lowland whiskies. The Cor-Ten steel bottle sculpture stands an impressive 5m tall and celebrates Rosebank’s position on the canal, allowing raw materials and coal to be received and whisky to be dispatched.

Along the canal at Bainsford, Mr McAuley’s Vinegar Works stood close to Lock 5 in 1854. Fish and chips were not yet a staple of the Scottish diet, but vinegar was widely used as a flavouring and preservative. The Cor-Ten steel sculpture celebrates a typical earthenware vessel typical of the era. Commanding a prominent location, the sculpture aligns with the canal and offers a view along a 1 mile stretch of the canal.