A Digital Record of the Creation of the new Market Rasen Heritage Tour Website
Market Rasen visitors and residents now have a new way to discover local history in the form of an exciting new website and 10 real-life signs in place around town.
The new Market Rasen Heritage Tour website can be found at http://www.marketrasenheritagetour.co.uk/
The website is the result of a successful joint bid for an ‘All Our Stories Grant’ from The Heritage Lottery Fund, made by the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) and Rase Heritage Society. The site aims to bring the town’s heritage to life in new, innovative and accessible ways.
The site centres on 10 historic stories, voted for by readers of The Market Rasen Mail from a list of 20. The stories on the new website range from medieval through to Tudor through to 21st century. They have been researched and written by members of Rase Heritage Society, and the full list of researchers and stories reads:
• Hazel Barnard: The Magistrates Court, Dr John Conolly and The Murder of Rev Storr
• Brenda Overton: The Market Place and Two Corn Exchanges
• Brian Ward: The Railways and Market Rasen Races & Pubs
• Mal Jones: St Thomas’ Church and Tennysons
• Caroline Foster: The Cottage Hospital
The website tells these stories through an exciting mix of six videos and around 70 images, which include archive and newly commissioned pieces.
Highlights include local historian Brian Ward giving us a potted history of the railway station and reminiscences of retired town GP Dr Parry. There is also a comic audio story set inside The Old Magistrates’ court in 1853 and a dramatic retelling of the bloody murder of Reverend Storr in 1602. Visitors can also view two new woodcut style illustrations relating to the murder of William Storr in 1602 and an interactive, panoramic image taken from St Thomas’ Church tower this year, that pans from The Old Mill on George Street right round to King Street!
Crucially, the website has been coded to work on smartphones and tablets, as well as standard desktop computers, so it can be accessed in the street as you take the tour by foot. This is possible because the site is ‘responsive’ – it shrinks or expands to fit any screen, even the small screen of an iPhone. QR codes on the street signs make the foot tour even easier, as one quick scan with your smartphone’s QR reader takes you straight to the story page online.
Sara Scott (of MR BIG and brand thing) devised the structure of the website and recruited graphic design students Helen Finlinson, Danielle Cowell and James Robins at the University of Lincoln to create the distinctive green branding that forms the backdrop to this site and all new MR BIG marketing material.
Sara commissioned local web designers Push Creativity to design and build the website. Their Market Rasen location and extensive experience in website design, photography and video making them ideal partners. They in turn recruited Root Studio (Lincoln) to provide the responsive coding of the new site.
Rase Heritage Society gathered together all the archive material for site, led by Hazel Barnard, and provided the text of the stories.
Hazel said: “This has been a great opportunity for Rase Heritage Society to delve into archives, photographs and family histories to find Market Rasen’s past stories. We are particularly pleased that the 10 stories chosen by the residents of the town and surrounding villages reflect a broad sweep of history, from medieval to Tudor times to more modern times with the Cottage Hospital. We hope that visitors and residents alike enjoy their trips into our past.”
Sara explained what happens when you arrive on the site: “The website opens up with an interactive map of old Market Rasen, with 10 small Victorian top hats marking the pin location of the 10 stories. You can scroll the map in any direction and zoom in or out, just like on Google Maps. Clicking on a hat gives you a preview of that story, so you can decide if you want to read that, or try another. There is also a sliding set of photos on the pages to give another way to browse the stories, and the slider images are presented in the order of a suggested route around town, starting at St Thomas’ church, and doing a full loop to return to the market place.”
Angela Montague at Push Creativity project managed the site build, organising the stories and images from Rase Heritage Society and deciding what new material would be needed to complete the stories and make the site appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
All six videos on the site are hosted on their own YouTube channel, and can be viewed full screen at www.youtube.com/user/MarketRasenHeritage
Angela added: “As a mother of two children at Market Rasen C of E Primary, I was keen that the website would be a long term asset to local schools as well as tourists, to show how much history is on our doorsteps. We’ve aimed to make the stories as entertaining and accessible as possible, and have included a PDF version of each to be printed and used by teachers in class.”
“It’s been a fantastic collaboration,” added Sara Scott, “with a long list of contributions from local historians, residents and businesses. We’re also indebted to the residents, businesses and local organisations who have kindly agreed to have the tour signs placed on their property. We hope the Market Rasen Heritage Tour will be a delight for residents and former residents, and of course bring new visitors to the town, one of MR BIG’s primary objectives.”