07 November 2017

New Technology Unlocks Old Buildings

  • English Heritage and Google Arts & Culture announce new partnership to bring historic sites and collections online
Frank Wilkin's vast 1820 painting of the Battle of Hastings hangs - largely unseen - within the private school on the 1066 battlefield. Now shot by Google's Art Camera, this monumental 6m x 8m depiction of the most famous battle in English history can be seen with ultra-high definition zoom by everyone, anyone via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

Previously unseen artefacts, rarely opened archaeological stores, and hard-to-see masterpieces are today revealed for the first time online thanks to a major new partnership between English Heritage and Google Arts & Culture.


Using the latest digital technology, the stories of 29 English Heritage sites across England – from Tintagel Castle in Cornwall to Hadrian’s Wall – are now brought to life and shared with an international audience via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

The partnership marks the first time Google Arts & Culture has worked with a heritage organisation and the first time it has worked with a multi-site institution. 

Matt Thompson, Head of Collections at English Heritage, said: “In our new role as a charity, English Heritage is looking for innovative ways to open our sites to the public and share their fascinating stories with them. Now thanks to Google Arts & Culture’s technology, we’ve been able to bring people closer to our historic masterpieces than ever before, open up our storehouses to a global audience, and showcase hitherto unseen artefacts.”

Amit Sood, Director of Google Arts & Culture, said: “England has such a rich, diverse, and interesting heritage – spanning literally centuries. English Heritage has done such an amazing job in preserving iconic art and sites, allowing us a glimpse into what life was like in a different time. Google Arts & Culture are proud to partner with English Heritage and use the power of technology to share these wonders and stories with a global audience.”       

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said: “Our #CultureIsDigital project aims to harness the creative potential of technology to increase awareness and engagement in our world-class cultural organisations. The collaboration between Google and English Heritage is a perfect example of how the heritage and tech sectors can work together to present our history and culture in new and exciting ways. It showcases the richness and variety of our cultural heritage to the world and demonstrates how we can enhance the experience and share new stories using digital technologies.”

To experience for yourself, visit g.co/EnglishHeritage and Google Arts & Culture

Highlights from the English Heritage / Google Arts & Culture partnership include:

Wrest Park Collections Store, Bedfordshire
J.W. Evans Silver Factory in Birmingham

Google’s Street View has now unlocked the Aladdin’s cave of 160,000 historical artefacts at Wrest Park, allowing the public to wander the store’s aisles and discover such fascinating objects as a Roman sculpture of the goddess Venus from Wroxeter Roman City, a medieval stone corbel originally from Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire, and a 19th-century wood and iron tower used to change the electric lamps in London’s Covent Garden Market building.
In Birmingham, people can now use Street View to explore remotely the labyrinthine corridors and workshops of the Victorian J.W. Evans silver factory, normally only open by pre-booked guided tours.  

Kenwood House, London
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
   
Photographed by a gigapixel camera, Antonio Zucchi’s magnificent 18th-century ceiling paintings at Kenwood House and the 17th-century painted “Elysium” ceiling at Bolsover Castle are now revealed in ultra-high definition, enabling people to see their exquisite detail for the very first time.

1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, East Sussex
Frank Wilkin’s vast 1820 painting of the Battle of Hastings hangs – largely unseen – within the private school on the 1066 battlefield. Now shot by Google’s Art Camera, this monumental 6m x 8m depiction of the most famous battle in English history can be seen with ultra-high definition zoom by everyone, anyone via the Google Arts & Culture platform.     

In total, 29 of English Heritage sites are showcased on the Google Arts & Culture platform with brand new editorial content for all of them. Stories include the fire that ruined Witley Court in 1937; Art Deco technology and luxury at Eltham Palace; the rediscovery of Rievaulx Abbey in the 1920s; the bombardment of Whitby Abbey during the First World War; and the preparations for nuclear war at York Cold War Bunker.

The 29 sites are:

Audley End House and Gardens, Essex      1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey & Battlefield
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire                       Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight
Chesters Roman Fort, Northumberland      Dover Castle, Kent
Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland       Eltham Palace and Gardens, London
Grime’s Graves, Norfolk                           Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire
J.W. Evans Silver Factory, Birmingham      Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
Kenwood, London                                    Knowlton Church and Earthworks, Dorset
Maiden Castle, Dorset                              Osborne, Isle of Wight
Pendennis Castle, Cornwall                       Portchester Castle, Hampshire
Richborough Roman Fort, Kent                Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire
Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire             Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall                          Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire
Witley Court, Worcestershire                   Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
Wrest Park Stores, Bedfordshire              Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire
York Cold War Bunker, York

'step into englands story