by Peter Bonnell, Senior Curator
The Derby Remembers Digital Trail app is free to download via the App Store and Google Play. It is part of a season of cultural events and activities to commemorate the First World War and is timed to coincide with Poppies: Weeping Window at The Silk Mill Museum.
The app is designed to be used solely online, with a walkable trail that leads users via GPS around Derby city-centre to sites of cultural and historical interest. It can, however, be used offline – but the map is active only in specific locations related to the Trail.
The app was instigated and coordinated by Peter Bonnell, Senior Curator at QUAD, and built by Darius Powell, Digital Engagement Officer, TECH:SQUAD. The lead historical consultant was Dr Mike Galer, author of the book ‘Derby: Remembering 1914-18’; with other notable consultants being Angela Tarnowski, Curator of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum at Derby Museum & Art Gallery, with many other experts and consultants providing advice and input on a range of stories. The app was designed by firecatcher: www.firecatcher.co.uk
Following the digital trail, users are taken along a dotted line via GPS within the app that takes them to poppy symbol markers linked to a site of interest. When the Trail hits a poppy marker it automatically unlocks stories that feature archive photographs, texts about each site and images of artefacts that paint a picture of Derby during WW1. The Trail covers significant historical and cultural sites in Derby – including The Silk Mill, Déda, Derby Cathedral, The Cenotaph, Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Derby Guildhall Theatre, QUAD and Royal Crown Derby. The Trail starts at The Silk Mill and ends at the Midland Railway Memorial on Midland Road, by Derby Train Station.
Examples of the Trail stories include: Alice Wheeldon – Anti-war Activist from the Pear Tree area of Derby who was allegedly framed, in 1917, for a poison plot against the Prime Minister and was arraigned at Derby Guildhall Theatre. In Lock-up Yard there is a memorial to Derby County legend Steve Bloomer; Bloomer started his managerial career in Berlin in 1914, promptly being arrested and interred in Ruhleben POW camp and was released at the end of the war in 1918. There is even the story of the ‘Spycatcher Mayor’, W. Harold Hoare who, when on holiday in Dorset in 1915, managed to uncover German spies who were signalling to Zeppelins prior to bombing raids on the UK mainland. Mr Hoare was later Mayor of Derby, and the site of the Old Mayor’s Parlour is now the site of QUAD.
The app can be downloaded by visiting: bit.ly/derbyremembers or by searching for ‘Derby Remembers’ in the App Store or on Google Play.