Walking the Wall through History: Digitizing the City of LondonFind Out More
We are reviving the Roman London Wall Walk for the digital age!
The London Wall itself dates back to the time of Roman London, or Londinium. In the 1980s, the Museum of London designed a walk along the Roman Wall’s ruins, including official plaques expressing the site’s significance. Originally created in the 1980s by the Museum of London, the Roman London Wall Walk connects 21 locations previously along the Roman London Wall. Over time, the plaques have fallen to the wayside, with some of them no longer accessible or visible to passersby. This is where our revived, digital version of the Roman London Wall Walk comes in.
Using personal mobile devices, the general public will be able to walk through the paths of ancient and modern London at the same time. Community members and tourists who might want to pass on visiting the Museum of London can still learn from and view the museum’s collections.
This will be a pilot project that could be expanded for the non-physical locations of where the previous walls were located, including additional plaques and artifacts. The revived Roman London Wall Walk will introduce the general public to a variety of historical artifacts dating as far back as Roman London, but it will also revive an important cultural heritage effort of the 1980s.Who We Are
By the end of the project period, LondonWallWalk.org.uk will provide users with a web-based, interactive exhibit tied to specific locations along the London Wall. The homepage will contain a map highlighting the path visitors should take when participating in the Wall Walk and a brief history of the origin of the original plaques installed in the 1980s. Site navigation will be based on the individual plaques. At each physical plaque location, users will be able to scan a QR code using their own device, allowing them to access a curated digital collection of artifacts from the MOL that were discovered at or related to the location. The exhibit pages will be organized on a timeline to reflect the organization of the MOL’s physical exhibits. For locations where the plaque is no longer accessible or has been lost or destroyed, the exhibit page will include a digital recreation of that plaque.
Although the website will be accessible to the general public so they can explore the Wall Walk map, users will primarily interact with the site via QR codes located at each physical plaque location. QR codes will be generated in Flow Code and affixed to the plaque or on a small replacement plaque where the originals are missing. For sites where the plaque is no longer accessible, a QR code will be installed in a new spot as close to the original location as possible. The QR codes will direct users to that plaque’s specific page at londonwallwalk.org.uk. The website will also be fully navigable as a virtual walk in which users can click on map locations to view the plaque and the associated digital exhibit. Using Bootstrap as a front end framework, the site will be built in GitHub. Each plaque subpage will be an exhibit organized around a timeline featuring artifacts from the MOL Collections. The site will eventually live on MOL servers and be accessible via its main website.
This project is targeted at the general public. Both the original Wall Walk and the MOL itself attempt to engage this wide audience, but the two existed primarily separate and the former has fallen into near obsolescence. This project can be of great interest to a greater public of both London local residents and visitors, and it not only will engage museum visitors outside of the museum but it may also introduce visitors to individual sites of the wall to the Museum for the first time. Users of this interactive Walk/exhibit can jump in and be introduced to the project at any point along the way— no prior knowledge of the MOL, the Wall, or the Walk required.
A list of items from each plaque location will be gathered from the MOL collection archives. Using the museum’s online catalogue, we are searching each location for a list of the items with associated digital media. Using the advanced search option, we are able to limit the search to the location, objects with media only, and specific time periods. These items will be linked into our website for the audience to interact with at each specific plaque site. Along with the artifacts, the website will house digital photos of the physical plaques allowing for the tour to essentially be completely virtual. For example, the QR code for the Aldgate plaque would bring up artifacts from the Aldgate area including: 1) Roman Bowl (AD 200-300); 2) Peter de Weston's Bell (c.1340); 3) Post-Medieval Die (17th-18th century); 4) Fetish Shoes (1937-1939); 5) Customized Levi Denim Jacket (1976-1981)
We found a couple of websites that highlight where the plaques are located and what they say into the digital space. With similar content and audiences, we wanted to take these projects a step further and connect the MOL and tangible history into the locations of the plaques. These similar projects include: The London Wall Walk, a website which describes the history of the wall itself including the building of the wall, alterations to it, the best places to see it in the city, and a Google Map with plaque markers; How to Do the London Wall Walk: A Self-Guided Walking Tour is a project created by Valerie Bailey in which she also created a Google Map of the MOL plaques, with the associated information, and a photo of each plaque, the surrounding area, and the details from the plaque. A book was published in 1985 by the MOL called “The London Wall Walk”, by Chapman, Hall, and Marsh which includes photos of the plaques and a map of the walk. The London Wall is featured in digital humanities projects such as Medieval London and the Map of Early Modern London, although the Wall is not the focus, these projects do engage with certain places in London across a period of time. The York’s City Walls Trail is a similar model to our proposed project; however, their website primarily focuses on providing a description of trails along the wall rather than making connections to artifacts that are linked to the site.
3rd Ph.D. student in Urban Planning. CHI Fellow.
3rd year Ph.D. student in English. CHI Fellow.
4th year Ph.D. student in Anthropology. Senior CHI Fellow.
Ph.D. Candidate in U.S. History. Senior CHI Fellow.
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