Shoppers will be able to scan a QR code on a building to reveal a hidden story
Revellers will be able to unlock the history of one of Nottingham’s most prominent shopping streets in an “interactive” way this Autumn.
As part of the ongoing transformation of the southern gateway to the city Nottingham City Council has commissioned a poet for an intriguing project which is set to be delivered this Autumn.
In 2016 the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded the council more than £680,000, delivered over five years, to allow owners or tenants of the beautiful historic buildings in Carrington Street and Station Street to restore them to their former glory.
Helen Goodbarton, a children’s author and poet, will now be writing a series of poems which shoppers will be able to listen to by scanning a number of QR codes located on the side of the buildings in the street.
Mrs Goodbarton says she will be working with Space Face Films which will be producing both audio and visuals which will help reveal the history of the buildings on the street as well as the stories of people and businesses which once inhabited it.
She said: “It is interesting because I am more of a children’s writer but this year during lockdown I set myself the task to write a poem a day and I found myself writing quite profound, epic pieces.
“That gave me the confidence to apply for this project that is not just focused on children, but everyone.
“Each poem will be [accessed] through a QR code on the buildings. There will be a video and audio and each poem will be a standalone piece.
Carrington Street, while predominantly lined with cafes and bars today, has been inhabited by various businesses in since it began life in 1829.
In the 19th Century enterprising businessmen began to exploit the sheer amount of foot traffic arriving from the railway station, transforming what was once little more than a swamp between Lister Gate and the River Leen into a vibrant shopping district.
From the huge sporting emporium of Redmayne and Todd, now the home of Cafe Nero, to a family-run shoe shop founded in 1894 and the Shipsides Car Showroom in 1927, it has been a hive of activity for years.
“I’m trying to really get a sense of what the street was like at each moment in time,” Mrs Goodbarton added.
“Redmayne and Todd sports outfitters, I will be focusing on that. Carrington Street had quite a lot of sports shops. It had a history in the motor industry. I will also be looking at ghost buildings that are not here anymore.
“I’m really excited my words will be a part of the history of this street. I understand the history of the street but what I want to know is how people relate to the street.
“I would like to know about people who used to shop on this street. I do not want [the poems] to be cold, I want it to feel lived in, bringing the community back into it.”
To achieve her goal Mrs Goodbarton is asking people to fill in a Google form, accessed here, to tell stories of the street and share their thoughts on its history.
She says the project should be introduced by mid-October this year.
Councillor Linda Woodings, portfolio holder for housing and planning at Nottingham City Council, added: “We’re really excited to be working with Helen on this project and we hope that people will enjoy the poems and interactive way of accessing them.
“It forms part of the council’s wider Townscape Heritage Scheme for Carrington Street. Back in 2016, the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded us more than £680,000 over five years to provide grants to eligible owners or tenants of historic buildings in Carrington Street and Station Street. This money could be put towards repair or refurbishment work and covered up to two-thirds of the overall cost.
“The scheme also has funding for activities to help local people engage with the heritage of the area, including the commission of street poems.
“The overall project has made a huge difference to the overall look and feel of these key gateway streets on the south side of the city centre.”