Portsmouth's darkest stories brought to life on mobile app

THE concept of heritage trails in Portsmouth has been transformed by a new project.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 3:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:52 am
The plaque in High Street, Old Portsmouth, on the house where the Duke of Buckingham was murdered in 1628

A digital heritage trail, called Dark Side Port Side, has been set up by Big Adventures and the University of Portsmouth, diving into some of the darkest secrets of Old Portsmouth.

The idea of the project is that people use their phones for a heritage trail, with the phone displaying information, stories and films when they reach a certain place.

John Sackett, director of Big Adventures, says that the scheme is inspired by a project previously done by the university.

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He explained: '˜It's a project that is being supported by the University of Portsmouth and a major grant from the Arts Council.

'˜This is inspired by a heritage trail that the university previously put together, called Sailortown; it's a trail in Old Portsmouth that covers the darker maritime history of the area.

'˜They uncovered stories about murder, prostitution, gambling and more '“ this was where the sailors went to have their fun, so there are some really grim stories to be told.

'˜It's a very interesting idea '“ I wanted to take that and dive deeper into the dark side of Portsmouth's past.'

The Dark Side Port Side project not only gives an insight into the more gruesome history of Portsmouth, but will also promote the work of local artists.

John said: '˜There is a great pool of talented writers, artists and filmmakers in Portsmouth, and it's with them that we have created the digital trail.

'˜We organised 16 teams '“ one for each point along the trail '“ with a mix of different types of media.

'˜It gives them a chance to be involved with something that is not only exciting, but local to them and also very unique.'

Dark Side Port Side officially launched last month '“ with plans now in motion to further revolutionise the experience.

The app will soon be implementing augmented reality, giving users a more visual experience of how the city would have looked.

John explained: '˜With augmented reality, you will be directed on your phone to look at something specific, like one of the statues on the trail.

'˜That will then cause something to happen on your phone '“ it's something we are really excited about.

'˜Doing something like this makes heritage much more interesting for people and opens it up to a digital audience.'

It is hoped that the augmented reality will be ready in 2019.