Wolverhampton’s Central Library was host to the city’s Story Trails last weekend, giving almost 2,000 visitors the opportunity to see the untold community stories in a completely new way using augmented and virtual reality alongside an immersive 3D map of the city.

The Story Trail through Wolverhampton took visitors to the factory floor of Courtaulds Textiles Works, a major employer from 1926 to 1970 with factory chimneys that once dominated the city’s skyline. The glamour of the pink powder room at Beatties, part of the Wolverhampton shopping experience from 1877 until its closure in 2019, as well as a taste of window-shopping in the 1960s featuring the dresses and hotpants of the era.

Outside Central Library, the immersive augmented reality walking tour saw actors guiding visitors around the places where local history was made, bringing events of the past to life.

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Professor Martin Levermore MBE DL, said: “The experience and technologies on show are ground-breaking; it’s thrilling to see them being used so well to share the story of Wolverhampton. I’m already thinking about the ways in which this technology can be used in other sectors to benefit the West Midlands.”

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, added: "We are incredibly excited to be one of only 15 locations in the whole of the UK to be part of the Story Trails tour. It was a fantastic experience to be able to take a trip back in time in such a unique way, reliving some wonderful memories of Wolverhampton in days gone by.

“I remember fondly shopping at Beatties and what a treat it was, the iconic Central Library which has always impressed me with its grandeur since my childhood when I visited every Saturday to borrow books. I also learned just how popular the samosa market was; I remember how new and exciting it was to be able to buy samosa from the Indian takeaways which started to open up years ago, after always making them at home. The Story Trails event was a truly memorable day for me and all those who came along to support it at their local library.”

James Bennett, Director of Story Trails, added: “The people of Wolverhampton brought so much magic to the event, but we hope that Story Trails gave them a bit of magic back too!”

The Story Trails event is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK and more details on the Story Trails project are at Story Trails and on social media -Facebook and Instagram @StoryTrailsProject and Twitter @StoryFuturesA