HISTORY in your hand! The story of Coalhouse Fort Park and East Tilbury has been collated and developed into three iPhone accessible trails using GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Veolia Mardyke Trust.
At set points along the trails users will be presented with audio and visual information interpreting the natural and social history linked to their position.
The information will be accessible via a free Thurrock Mobile Explorer app from the Apple app store from 1 June. All the trail content will be available online (www.coalhousefortpark.org.uk) and there will also be compatible Apple devices available.
Although a Thurrock Council-run project, much of the trail content has been found and developed by local people during a series of workshops and events, ensuring a richer, more authentic portrayal of the past.
Once live, users will also be able to contribute towards the local story as the trails are connected to the social networks Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Walking along virtual trails, users can post amusing anecdotes about Coalhouse Fort, tweet something about the Bata Shoe Factory or upload photos of the local wildlife.
Two of the trails are at Coalhouse Fort Park, which explore both the military history of the Victorian fort, and the natural salt-marsh environment surrounding it.
The third trail is at East Tilbury, taking in the former factory complex of the British Bata Shoe Company and a planned settlement in a ‘garden village’ setting.
For those without compatible handsets, there will be compatible apple devices held with the Coalhouse Fort Park Ranger and the Bata Centre in East Tilbury Library for use as part of pre-arranged tours. As the content is also available online (from 1 June) visitors will be able to view trails and content on their smart-phone, or print off from their home computer in advance of a visit.