Kirkgate: The Victorian Street App

Kirkgate: The Victorian Street’ app follows a fairly similar concept to the Streetmuseum app down in London. Created by ‘York Castle Museum’ the app overlays Victorian photographs over modern shots of the city (If you look at point number 3, I think you’ll find it strangely topical).

kirkgate map

Screenshot of the map used to navigate the web version of the app

The concept behind the application, like Streetmuseum, is really good. It offers a chance for museums to make use of their often extensive archives in a creative way (and allows us to access them!).

kirkgate lady yard

Screenshot of Point 20, Lady Peckitt’s Yard

The app, though, does appear to only be available currently on the web which is a bit of a shame. Also, the web version is a little bit clunky until you learn how to navigate the map (it’s not as easy as Google Maps for example).

But, despite the logistical problems, this approach offers an interesting concept for further development. I really hope that they improve it for the future.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on what you make of the app. Do you like the concept? What do you think of the navigation? Did you find it interesting?

One thought on “Kirkgate: The Victorian Street App

  1. Hi again. Thanks very much for your new post… I throughly enjoyed working through the site 🙂

    I agree completely with your sentiments concerning the usefulness of apps like this in helping musuems provide access to their collections whilst simultaneously helping people to easily connect with and appreciate the depth of history associated with locations.

    I agree completey that a mobile version would be lovely.

    There are a lot of things that came to mind as I experienced the site. Some of which I hope are interesting or useful to you (or anyone else reading). I know my comments are long 😦

    Disclaimer… amongst other things I’m a software developer… with particular interest in UI design, data visualization, and human computer interaction. I am also a computational/theoretical chemist, which means that I spend nearly all my time writing or using software. I can’t help but look at this from both professional and personal viewpoints. I know that the toolsets for constructing things like this have their limitations, and that time and budget is always in short supply. Many of the things I talk about will very likely have been noticed and discussed by the developers themselves. I’ve been on the receiving end of critiques many times and I just want to say that I admire and appreciate the work that went into the site.

    Okay, here are my thoughts… sort of random and fragmentary .

    Fantastic opening photo

    Woud much appreciate further explanations for certain images… woman about to be hanged for example.

    Like the black and orange color scheme..

    Would have liked the unselected points beyond current to be slightly less transparent so they would be easier to see. Maybe even have them connected by a dashed path or something.

    I’d love higher resolution images (I realize there are logitical issue here)

    Sort of like the idea of having half the past and half the present photo displayed when the page for a point is first loaded. This would make it obvious that you don’t need to use the play button as the only means to compare. That is, you can drag the slider back and forth rapidly to compare photos. (This doesn’t seem to work on my iPhone, in safari, though) I think the ability to quickly move back and forth between two visualizations is an extremely valuable approach. Not just in photo comparisons. Could also be used to show phasing of an archaeological sites.. moving back and forth quickly makes it much easier to see differences and corespondences between periods. It could make understanding stratigraphy and the timing of layers much easier to assimilate as well.

    Wouldn’t it be very cool to have ambient sound to match the past and present photos? Maybe just for one case.

    Be nice if there were a way to move to the next point in the sequence that didn’t involve having to return to the map

    Was initially puzzled by the print button.. not sure why it was there, however the new layout produced for printing (side by side photos) is interesting and useful.. not sure why that isn’t just an option for the regular, non-print preview, view as well.

    Transcriptions of the hand writing in the photos would be very nice.

    Agree about the map… I was to point three before I noticed the move on button.. probably due to placement in top upper right..

    In cases where the old buildings are no longer present (as in the wall) should probably mention that in the text.

    I would have liked the dates of the old and new pictures specified…further information abt the picture itself would be very nice as well.. type, photographer, some means of designation to locate the original etc.

    Booksellers picture on Coney Street -> O.O awesome.

    I think it would have been useful to mention that St. Martin Le Grand was badly damaged by bombing.. which accounts for the huge difference in the photos.. I think people (at least I am) are very naturally curious as to why changes have ocurred over time…

    I love the style of the old print ads. I so appreciate that they were included.

    Could use some sort of closing page that provides a summary, leads back to the museum page or something similar.

    All in all, very cool website. Thank you for pointing it out. Hope you are well and Happy New Year!


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