Town's hidden vaults, cells and crypts brought to life in 3D virtual tour
- Credit: WISBECH HIGH STREET PROJECT
Hidden vaults, tunnels, cells, cellars and crypts that lie beneath the streets of Wisbech have been brought to life in a 3D virtual tour.
The web of underground structures, which date as far back as the 14th or 15th century, have remained largely hidden from public view.
Now, as part of ‘Wisbech Underground - which is part of Fenland District Council's Wisbech High Street Project - 3D surveys have been carried out beneath The Rose and Crown, Wisbech Sessions House and Wisbech Market Place.
With permission from owners and tenants, a team of professional surveyors and historic building experts, led by Lincoln Conservation, part of the University of Lincoln, got to work.
They used laser scanning equipment and detailed measurements and images were taken at each location to create interactive navigable models.
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Detailed reports also offer new interpretations into the origins, uses and dates of some of the locations, uncovering some of their history.
‘Wisbech Underground’, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, started in 2017 with talks and school visits to Wisbech museum and Wisbech Castle vaults.
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Then, in 2020, the project worked with Lincoln Conservation researching, mapping, and providing interpretation on a number of underground locations around the High Street.
The project - which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund - had initially hoped to arrange public access to some of the hidden spaces.
However it decided to carry out 3D modelling on as many of the locations as possible.
Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for social mobility and heritage, said: “Wisbech town centre contains a huge number of cellars, storage vaults, drainage tunnels, crypts and passageways, many of which link back to when Wisbech was a major port from the 17th century onwards.
“Hidden away for so many years, these surveys have helped bring these fascinating historic locations to life once again. It will be great to showcase them properly with a public event when we can
"In the meantime, I would invite people to take a virtual tour of the locations accessed so far and find out more about their wonderful and unique history.”
Once Covid-19 restrictions are eased on social gatherings, the Wisbech High Street Project is looking to hold an event to showcase the results, along with a demonstration of the 3D scanning equipment used.
To take a virtual tour on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone and click on ‘Wisbech Underground’.
If anyone has any information or stories to tell about the underground tunnels or would like to suggest a location for potential 3D surveys, contact Taleyna Fletcher, Fenland District Council’s Wisbech Townscape Heritage Officer, via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01354 622210.