3D scanners used to move 300-year-old farm brick by brick to Beamish

Spainsfield Farm all set for Beamish Museum.
Spainsfield Farm all set for Beamish Museum.
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CUTTING-EDGE technology is helping in the move of an 18th century County Durham farmhouse.

Durham University scientists are using laser beams from a 3D scanner to help document Spain’s Field Farm before its removal, brick by brick, to Beamish Museum.

John Castling

John Castling

The empty Weardale farm building, which has been gifted to the museum by the Jopling family, will be rebuilt as part of a new 1950s exhibition, representing life on an uplands farm during an important period of change.

In the 1950s, the farm was occupied by the Raines family, who sold it to the Joplings in the 1970s.

Every brick, beam and nail of the building will be painstakingly moved, along with some items found inside, including 1960s lino, books and leather boots.

Geologist Joel Carle, of Geospatial Research, part of the university, is carrying out the 3D scanning with equipment normally used on cliffs and rocks. He said: “We get a lot more detail with this.

“When it comes to reconstructing a building you’ve taken down it really helps you to see a lot more detail, so we’ve scanned indoors as well as outdoors.

“It gives a much better understanding of what things look like. In 2D you are looking at a 3D object in two dimensions and lose a lot of information. This is where we get it back with the 3D image.”

John Casting, who is part of Beamish’s Future Leaders Programme, said: “We’re trying to work out the history of the farm. All buildings are different, but this building in particular has got challenges – the location, for one. It’s not on a main road, it’s not even on a minor road, it’s 150 yards down a grassy bank.”