Derby Cathedral reduces steps to stunning bird’s-eye view

Published By The Church Times

CLIMBING the 189 steps of the 16th-century tower of Derby Cathedral and soaking up the view of the city can now be achieved with out breaking sweat, after the Chapter introduced virtual-reality technology to the building, last month.

The Derby-based company Mixed Realities has used film cameras to produce a comprehensive scan of the stairwell, and every room in the tower — including the clock room, ringing room, and carillon room — to allow anyone with internet access to see and learn about the cathedral from anywhere in the world. The technology means that people with disabilities or mobility difficulties can now also enjoy the view.

The Chapter Steward at Derby, Rachel Morris, said: “We get lots of enquiries from visitors wishing to climb the tower. However, we aren’t able to take more than 15 people up at a time, and we only open the tower once a month. We’re aware that it is impossible for visitors with mobility issues to experience the tower, too, but now they can through this incredible scan.”

Derby Cathedral has the second highest bell-tower in the UK. The director at Mixed Realities, said that producing the scan was a unique challenge.

”We had a vision for how we could capture these spaces in high-definition virtual reality, allowing the viewer to interact with the space on all platforms: you can watch the carillon turn at midday for the oldest ring of ten bells in the world, and click through to the live webcam to watch the fascinating Derby Cathedral peregrines.”

The pilot is part of the £2.8-million project Revealing the Derby Story. An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been submitted to sustain the scheme.

It coincides with Durham Cathedral’s joining the free augmented-reality app England’s Historic Cities, to showcase videos and information on the history of the cathedral and its frequenters, from the Venerable Bede to the Benedictine monks.

View the scan here: www.v21.space/derby-cathedral

To download the app, visit: www.historic-cities.com/stories

Joe Clark