English Heritage teams up with Google Street View to reveal historic sites online
Heritage enthusiasts will be able to explore some of England’s most famous and unusual historic sites from the comfort of their own home.
Hard-to-see masterpieces on stately home ceilings and rarely opened stores of archaeological remains are among the heritage being revealed online for the first time.
A new partnership between English Heritage and Google Arts & Culture has deployed digital technology including Street View and gigapixel cameras to bring 29 historic sites across England to life for an international audience.
From Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, where King Arthur is said to have been conceived, to a Cold War Bunker in York, armchair heritage buffs will be able to explore some of England’s most famous and unusual historic sites.
For the first time, people will get to see in detail Antonio Zucchi’s 18th century ceiling paintings at Kenwood House, London, and the 17th century “Elysium” ceiling at Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire, which have been photographed in ultra-high definition.
They will also be able to view the largely-unseen vast 1820 painting of the Battle of Hastings by Frank Wilkin, which hangs within the private school at Battle Abbey, East Sussex.
And they can get 360 degree views of the elaborately decorated Durbar Room at Osborne on the Isle of Wight and of the terrace of the stately home loved by Queen Victoria, from the comfort of their own homes.
Google’s Street View is allowing people to remotely explore the labyrinthine corridors and workshops of the Victorian J W Evans silver factory in Birmingham, normally only open to the public for pre-booked guided tours.
The technology is also opening up the store of 160,000 historical artefacts at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, revealing items such as a Roman sculpture of the goddess Venus, a medieval stone “corbel” or bracket with a carved face, and a 19th century wood and iron tower used to change electric lamps in London’s Covent Garden Market building.
The partnership is the first time Google Arts & Culture has worked with a heritage organisation, and the first time it has worked with an institution covering multiple sites.
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.”
:: To view and explore the sites, people can visit: g.co/EnglishHeritage.