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How you can download Norwich's past to your mobile phone

Sophie Harrison from HEART using a mobile phone with the heritage 'totem' signs at Norwich castle

Sophie Harrison from HEART using a mobile phone with the heritage 'totem' signs at Norwich castle

Archant © 2010

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 city’s historic buildings.

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.

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.”

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 and it is hoped the technology will be installed at the 12th building – The Great Hospital – in 2011.

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.”

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 12th installed towards the bottom of Timberhill.

HEART is interested to know what people think about the new totems – if you have any comments email them to info@heritagecity.org.

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