Friday, 6 May 2016

New "Walking App" Explores Lancaster's World War One History

Battery buses Market Square 1917
Battery-powered buses in Market Square which took the munitions workers to the Caton Road Munitions Works in 1917

An exciting, new, mobile phone application, which brings to life a step-by-step history of Lancaster's World War One history, will be put through its paces this weekend.

 The ‘app’ which can be used as a stand-alone product, or as an accompaniment to a guided walk, includes rarely-seen photographs, actual film footage and cameo stories linked to key points along the route. On reaching significant locations, viewers can see and learn about, for example, the:


  • Battery-powered buses in Market Square which took the munitions workers to the Caton Road Munitions Works
  • Black and white film footage of the King’s Own Regiment marching to Lancaster Railway Station
  • Bones carved by foreign prisoners held in the former Carriage and Wagon Works in Caton Road 


The programme, created by Dr Keith Cheverst and Helen Turner from Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communication, is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is part of a wider research project led by Lancaster Military Heritage Group, Lancaster University, Curator of Lancaster’s King’s Own Regiment Museum Peter Donnelly and Lancaster Civic Society.

The app brings the current paper trail walk, aptly entitled ‘On the Warpath’, into the 21st Century. 

“This is a highly interactive app which allows walkers actually to delve deeper into certain locations and landmarks or themes that particularly interest them while en route,” says Dr Corinna Peniston-Bird, from Lancaster University’s History Department.

“Stories and images ping in at the appropriate moment. “One of the stops on the tour recalls the story of the German pork butcher, Mr Happold, whose shop windows were smashed at 22 Penny Street, even though his son Freddy was serving with the British Army” says Dr Corinna Peniston-Bird. “But the incident followed the second battle of Ypres, in which Lancaster suffered severe losses and which ignited strong feelings on the Home Front against Germans.”

The facility provides a two-way street for information as walkers are also able to feed in their own comments and stories about locations if they wish. The software comes from the same team who brought the fascinating Streets of Mourning Project to the city two years ago. The project has created a unique, interactive map in which people can track those who died to the streets where they or their loved ones lived.

•  The new app will be trialled on a free walk which sets off from the Campus in the City unit in St Nicholas Arcades at 11.00am on Saturday 14th May 2016.

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