Journey to the Past
Journey to the Past is a collaboration between Bangor University, the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales. The partnership has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, who also funded the original project ‘European Travellers to Wales 1750–2010’ that began in 2013. ‘European Travellers’ was a collaboration between Bangor University, Swansea University and CAWCS. For further information, please consult the original project website.
‘European Travellers’ collected over 440 travel accounts, the majority of which are written in French and German, and provides detailed descriptions of their content in the freely available and fully searchable database Accounts of Travel. The project investigated an array of sources including travelogues, guidebooks, diaries, letters and blogs, in both manuscript and printed form. Many of these were ‘hidden’ in writing about tours of England. The researchers discovered a broad variety of reasons for European travellers to come to Wales. Stories of refugees and exiles have emerged alongside a store of detailed descriptions of Welsh landscapes, buildings and ruins. These are completely new resources for understanding Wales more fully, and they broaden the study of travel writing to encompass more than English-language portrayals of Wales.
Following on from this project, Journey to the Past gives a new insight into the history and culture of Wales by combining historical sources with new technologies. The researchers of the ‘European Travellers’ project are combining their expertise on the history of travel writing in modern European languages with the Royal Commission’s archival resources concerning the history and built environment of Wales.
As part of this collaboration, the Journey to the Past team have created new translations of historic travel descriptions in French and German and commissioned the digitisation of material held in the special archives and collections of the Royal Commission. In addition, the team have produced new digital resources, such as 360°-Gigapixel tours and videos for selected locations across Wales. New digital reconstructions of towns and buildings, a video detailing the industrial heritage of Merthyr Tydfil (produced by Treehouse Media) and a Virtual Reality experience of Tintern Abbey during the Romantic period (produced by Luminous) complete the Journey to the Past experience.