Leeds nostalgia: walk through 19th Century Leeds with new mobile phone ‘map app’

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An innovative map app which allows users to explore the urban heritage of Leeds using the journals of nineteenth-century physician Dr John Deakin Heaton is set to be launched at Leeds Beckett University.

The Heaton Map app, which provides users with location-based walking tours and a brief introduction to Dr Heaton’s life, is free and can be downloaded on mobile devices, tablets and desktop computers. It comprises a map interface with content plotted at specific locations using map pointers

A mix of text and images derived from Dr Heaton’s journal and other sources, the app also includes explanatory information provided by Dr Simon Morgan, a Principal Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett.

The project is a collaborative venture between Leeds Beckett’s Centre for Culture and the Arts, the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, and Humanities Research Institute Digital Manager Mike Pidd and his team at the University of Sheffield.

A man at the heart of the 19th Century Leeds elite, Dr Heaton (1817-1880), was one of the city’s most active citizens and a promoter of provincial civic pride in Britain. As well as holding positions at a number of the region’s major hospitals, he was the Chairman of the Council of the Yorkshire College (later the University of Leeds), a member of the first Leeds School Board (1870-73), and President four times of the Philosophical and Literary Society. He was also known as one of the leading advocates for the building of the Leeds Town Hall.

Dr Morgan, who has been leading the project, commented: “The app takes an innovative approach to urban heritage by using modern technology to map the public and private activities of one of Leeds’s most active 19th Century citizens across the physical terrain of the city. To achieve this, the Heaton Map project makes use of the detailed journals Dr Heaton wrote to record the details of his life.”

The event will be on Wednesday October 29 at the Rose Bowl from 5.30-6.30pm. Book places here: www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/events/heaton-map-project-launch-event/

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