Download Norwich history to your mobile

The latest technology and Norwich's rich past are being combined in special interactive signs which will bring the city's history vividly to life.

Heritage chiefs have installed 12 interactive 'totems', which have been kitted out with Bluetooth technology near some of the most historic buildings in Norwich.

Gems such as Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, Dragon Hall, the Guildhall, St Andrew's Hall and St James Mill have had the signs installed nearby.

The totems show information and pictures, but the Bluetooth technology means passers-by can download more detailed information and images onto their mobile phones free of charge.

By early next year all 12 will offer people the chance to download even more content – even virtual reality animations so you can 'see' around the whole building.


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Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) has installed the interactive totems as part of SHAPING 24 – a cultural tourism project raising the profile of heritage in Norwich and the Belgian city of Ghent with some of the money coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

Michael Loveday, chief executive of HEART, said: 'The totems are an innovative way of increasing access to some of the city's amazing buildings. For instance, due to the Guildhall's medieval layout, wheelchair access to the upper floors isn't possible but by downloading the information from the totem outside, people will be able to see what's inside the first floor council chamber and sword room without even having to enter the building.'

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Apart from the totem in Timberhill, the others have been placed at 11 of the Norwich 12 buildings – a group of Norwich's most iconic buildings.

A wall sign containing information about the 12th building – the Great Hospital – has been installed and it is hoped Bluetooth technology will be installed in 2011 as part of a project to develop the lodge there into a place interpreting the building's history.

Caroline Jarrold, community affairs adviser at Jarrold's, said: 'Norwich 12 buildings such as St James Mill, the headquarters of Jarrold's, are working buildings and therefore only open to the public at certain times.

'St James Mill's interactive totem will mean that people can access images of the interior, as well as historical information about the building, at any time.'

Jane Ward, information manager at Norwich Tourist Information Centre, said: 'Installing the totems is a boost for the tourism industry in Norwich as they raise its profile as a forward-thinking city and give another dimension to the many attractions already offered here.'

The totems are at Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Halls – St Andrew's and Blackfriars', The Guildhall, Dragon Hall, the Assembly House, St James Mill, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Surrey House, City Hall and The Forum – with a twelfth totem installed towards the bottom of Timberhill.

HEART is interested to know what people think about the new totems – email info@heritagecity.org

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