Using Artcodes to create a narrative that unlocks hidden histories of Rushden and its people.

The Greenway is an outdoor path that runs alongside the town of Rushden in Northamptonshire, England. It was once a railway line, built to transport leather and shoes in an out of the town.

All Aboard for Rushden is a mobile app that enables visitors and commuters to experience the rich history of the town and its people. The app, powered by Artcodes, introduces an ever-changing narrative based on a local news story of 1911, when a post bag was hit by an express train, sending letters flying. These letters offer a fascinating and personal insight into life at the time and invite responses and new contributions. Once visitors have completed their journey, they receive a reward for their help in the form of a discount at a town centre shop. 

Michelle Barnett, a local artist, has created public artwork that that adorns the length of the Greenway path that connects visitors to the narrative. When visitors use the app, they can directly scan these artworks, or Artcodes, to unlock hidden pieces of local history that may otherwise have been forgotten.

The project aims to encourage people in Rushden to walk between the town centre and the new Rushden Lakes development along the Greenway path to find out about the former branch railway line and other interesting places to visit in Rushden, including the Historical Transport Museum, Rushden Museum and the many independent shops in the town centre.

The Nenescape Greenway app shows how you can enable visitors to learn about a historical narrative in an open, outdoor setting. Unlike QR codes, visitors can interact directly with an artwork produced in the form of a metal sign, fitting with its surroundings and history. The experience is easily expandable and extensible: the signs can be relocated to maintain interest and expand the route beyond the Greenway. The hidden history contents revealed by the artwork can easily be changed, encouraging visitors to come back. Content can include work created by individual users, local history groups and school groups.

The app is available for iPhone and Android devices.