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Streets of Bournemouth a virtual reality

7 February 2008

Rare image of the Belle Vue Hotel will feature in the project Major funding ensures Bournemouth's history is no longer a thing of the past.

A substantial £440,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award paves the way for BU and Bournemouth Borough Council to make Bournemouth's history a virtual reality.

Over the next two and a half years Bournemouth's rich heritage will unfold on a website featuring a core collection of maps, images and information to show how the town has changed over the last 200 years.

The ‘Streets of Bournemouth’ will become the first online museum devoted to the town's history, and will also form a central part of celebrations to mark the town’s bicentenary in 2010.

BU Librarian David Ball said: “The Streets of Bournemouth will certainly come to life thanks to this significant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“We have a strong track record in creating interactive archives, and with the help of our colleagues at Bournemouth Borough Council and a team of volunteers drawn from the community, we’re confident that this project will serve as a living history of Bournemouth for many years to come.”

Visitors to the website will be able to see how their own street developed by clicking down through a layer of historical maps. They’ll also be able to call up associated images and information about Bournemouth’s people and buildings, its development as a health and seaside resort, and many other defining aspects of the town’s story.

A key element will be the community archive, to which Bournemouth residents past and present can add their own photos, collections, stories and memories.

The grant will also enable the conservation of a unique compilation of Victorian glass negatives from the Day Collection and make other images, such as the Chilvers Collection of rural watercolours, accessible to the public for the first time online.

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