Two awards for Heritage Quay

Great news for our clients at Heritage Quay. They have recently one not one, but two, fantastic awards.

The Royal Historical Society has commended Heritage Quay for its “promotion of public history” in the new Public History Prize Awards which recognise work that enhances public understanding of the place of the past in today’s social, political and cultural life.

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We are delighted to hear that this wonderful project has received this richly-deserved award. The archive’s range is breathtaking covering not only social, cultural, political and industrial history but also music, the arts and sport, so we welcome this recognition of the sterling work of the project and the University.”

The interactive Gesture Wall which we developed for Heritage Quay was entered for the e-Alan Ball Award made by the CILIP local studies group. Judged to be “a very interesting piece of work and extremely innovative” it didn’t quite fit into the criteria for this new award so we are thrilled to hear that it has been awarded a Special Commendation for Innovation.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, said, “A particular honour, I think, that the judges don’t quite know how categorise Heritage Quay.”

We’d like to congratulate the Heritage Quay team on two much deserved awards. Their approach to interpretation within the field of archives has been brave and innovative and it’s great to see this formal recognition matching the enthusiasm that their visitors show.

Sneak Preview: Time-lapse photography at St Martin’s Church, Bilborough

Our time-lapse photography project at St Martin’s Church in Bilborough is coming along nicely.

We have two cameras in place. One looks down from the eaves, eight metres up, onto the floor of the church and will record the restoration activity in the Grade II* listed building, including the laying of a stone floor.

The second is focused on the restoration some precious wall paintings by mid-20th century artist Evelyn Gibbs, believed to be the last surviving examples of her large scale work.

This Heritage Lottery funded project sees local champion of the church, Hilary Wheat,  realising her vision to restore the church to its former vibrant condition establlishing it as a focal point where the local community can address its own challenges such as poor education and health, and low employment.

#bigcurveyscreen engages visitors to Heritage Quay

The Gesture Wall that we developed for Heritage Quay has been exciting visitors to the University of Huddersfield Archives since its launch in October 2014.

This recent video shows Sarah Wickham, University Archivist & Records Manager, talking about how visitors use the Gesture Wall and multi-touch tables to explore the Archives and search more deeply into the areas that most grab their personal interest. Sarah says, “It really opens up our audience and our reach in ways that we couldn’t possibly do before.”

The Gesture Wall even has its own hashtag #bigcurvyscreen – if you like it, why not give it a quick mention on Twitter?

Time-lapse photography at St Martin’s Church

The restoration of the wall paintings by mid-20th century artist Evelyn Gibbs  at St Martin’s Church, Bilborough in Nottinghamshire is progressing. We set up two time-lapse cameras to capture the work as it is carried out – here’s a sneak preview…

“Tablet tour” of St Martin’s Church

As part of the Hidden Treasures project at St Martin’s Church, Bilborough, we are developing a “tablet tour” to help visitor explore the history of the church and its role in the community.

As a church that is actively used for worship and for community activities, space for interpretative displays and activities is, by the nature of the building and its use, limited – which makes the use of tablet technology the ideal choice for presenting a lot of information in a handy, compact way.

St Martins church mural 1

An app that can be accessed on one of the project’s tablets can be navigated via a map of the church or a list of points of interest around the building. These points within the church will be tagged with small plaques – simply tap the tablet on the plaque and the app will present information about that feature, its purpose, history and relevance to the community.

The app will access a variety of material – text, graphics, video and audio – which can be kept up-to-date and added to by the client.

Maintaining touchscreens at Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths

We were delighted to be asked by Cadw to help them with four touchscreens at Caerleon that been installed by another developer several years ago and were now not working properly.

Following the site survey a plan of action was agreed and the systems replaced with the latest technology. We were able to recover the software from the original touch screens and re-commission it on the new platforms which also means we have a safely archived set of the software.

Touchscreen technology at Caerleon

Cadw now has a regular maintenance contract in place to reduce the risks of wear and tear eventually causing similar problems in future. We are now providing:

  • Regular site visits to check the equipment.
  • Telephone support.
  • A complete spares package.
  • Software backup and archiving.
  • Emergency call outs and ongoing advice.

Caerleon can now be assured that their touchscreens will continue to work reliably and any unexpected problems that arise will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Interactive touchscreen at Caerleon

Seasonal sales success at The London Bridge Experience

Our new photo system at The London Bridge Experience was installed in time for Halloween, unsurprisingly an important milestone in the year for a scare attraction.

We’re pleased to report that the system ran without a hitch throughout this busy period and just as happy that sales exceeded expectations by a factor of 25%.

Open for Business, Derby

Friday 21st November saw us out and about with the local business community. We took some of our favourite interactive exhibits out to the University of Derby’s Enterprise Centre for their Open for Business trade show.

Demo of RFID objects

Rob shows how the RFID objects at Westonbirt Arboretum 

A jam-packed programme of talks complemented an interesting exhibition from local businesses and we were pleased that the delegates enjoyed getting hands on with our kit.

Open for Business Wide Sky Design and Pauline Latham MP

Pauline Latham MP enjoys the Gesture Wall experience from Heritage Quay

Open for Business Wide Sky Design and Pauline Latham MP

The London Bridge Experience – photosystem

Our new photosystem at popular scare attraction, The London Bridge Experience, is now up and running, bringing an extra thrill to visitors in search of spine-tingling entertainment.

The technology works on the same principles as the photosystem at The World of Beatrix Potter, including the means to measure key performance indicators such as the number of pictures taken and the number of items sold, and yet the visitor’s experience of using it is a very different one.

Rather than being one element of a broader retail offering to choose, The London Bridge Experience uses the system as an integral part of the visitor experience. In fact, having your photograph taken by actors in character builds the tension before you enter the tombs, setting the scene for the rest of your visit. The more terrified your pose, the more impressive the finished photo will be.

After an experience full of sounds, smells, and spooky settings, with shocks and surprises courtesy of a grisly cast of characters from the more gruesome corners London Bridge’s history, why not take away a personalised photo souvenir?

On leaving the tour, the ticket that was provided at your photo shoot is scanned and your picture displayed, ready for purchase as a memento of a frighteningly fun visit.

Launch event for Heritage Quay

It was great to be invited to the launch event at Heritage Quay on the 20th October – a fabulous resource that makes the University of Huddersfield’s heritage collections more accessible to everyone, free of charge, thanks to a grant of £1,585,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The guests had a good time exploring the exhibits and playing with the multi-touch tables and, of course, the interactive Gesture Wall that provides a gateway to the archives.

Vice Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan CBE introduced Gary Verity, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and Humberside who performed the opening honours with the theme of inspiration. We were delighted to hear him describe the Gesture Wall, “You will not get much more inspirational than a giant toy like that.”

It’s been fantastic to work with the team at Heritage Quay – congratulations on a brilliant launch event.

And many thanks for the kind words, Sarah.

“Thanks for coming, and for all the last minute tweaking & working!  We had a good time and got lots of really positive feedback – as you’ll have seen/heard, everyone LOVED the multi-touch and the BCS…”

Sarah Wickham, University Archivist & Records Manager at University of Huddersfield

Heritage Lottery Fund

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


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