Augmented Reality of Hastings

I will recreate 'Priory Meadow Cricket Ground' of Hastings ( 1864-1996) in 3D with immersive soundtracks, using augmented reality* triggered when viewing special vintage postcards, the experience will happen on all smartphones & all of it will be distributed free. If you fund this project you will be helping me to preserve amazing lost local heritage in digital art for many other people to continue enjoying nostalgic landmarks, and for many generations to come.

I will also create an experience with audio history and 3D model of a group statue of King Harold II and his common-law wife Edith (Ealdgyth Swan-neck, also known as Edith the Fair, and most commonly Edith Swan-Neck). Harold is lying on his back dying and the figure of Edith is hunched over him, holding up his head towards her face. The sculpture is severely weathered and virtually none of the carved surface remains (originally Harold’s chain mail sleeves were present for example). Prominent areas of carving such as noses and fingers are now eroded. Soil and sand have become deposited in the crevices of the carving. I will do this alongside Ian Macintosh who is campaigning for a roof for the statue. The statue is still outside at Grosvenor Crescent / Sea Road St Leonards on sea. An augmented reality version will be an additional outcome for this amazingly powerful statue that has a lot of stories to tell.

By supporting this project you will be helping me deliver to older people who engage less in technology (in this case 'Augmented Reality', and ultimately to everyone who can access it by using a smartphone and adding headphones to have an immersive exploration of this bygone place, truly rich in memories.

Is your organisation involved in heritage / memory projects and could support local art  ? I have added rewards to incentivise larger donations and can discuss this with you. Maybe you could host an exhibition of submitted Cricket Ground stories over 130 years and I could display this in your centre.

If you have content eg: memories to be recorded, photographs, old cine movie or video footage of Priory Meadow Cricket ground events you would like to submit to me for inclusion in the project and proposed exhibition please email me : [email redacted].uk

In September 2018 I offered a series of free public talks with guided demonstrations hosted at Hastings museum & Art gallery, Old History House in Old town Hastings( OHPS) attended by the Mayor and deputy Major, Bexhill Heritage Society, and was invited to meet The Chairman of the National Piers society and show the work in The Azur for a charity fundraiser organised by Lord Brett.The response has always been a lot of interest, except it didnt run on all phones, for now it was Apple only due to budget of the first build. I knew I had to change this, as so many people were literally asking how to download it onto their Android phone (Samsung, Huawei, Galaxy etc )

Smartphones are ubiquitous tools and I have already released an app designed with professional legacy in mind, like a museum in your pocket. Costs include new site build, hosting & maintenance, it will not expire after a year or two.

The short video shows what we see through the iPad and iPhone when using the current artwork 'Apparitions' that I have made so far in 'augmented reality' . From looking at a map 3 lost local landmarks are triggered in 3D with sounds from postcards. Priory Meadow Cricket ground will be added to this app as a new experience.

During 2018 I launched an app thats runs on iPhones called 'Apparitions' for free ( thanks to a generous support  from The Arts Council of England ) and from all the public feedback I gathered, it was clear that The Priory Meadow cricket ground (once dominated the heart of the town centre in Hastings) would be a very popular addition. It was only demolished in 1996 for a shopping centre, so many people still have great memories of it , and I could recreate in the same way as I have done with The Memorial & St Leonards Pier - shown below in this short video.

The above image is The Memorial (1862-1973) triggered from a second floor window in the Memorial Gallery on Robertson street to attempt to recreate it close to its original site. You can see Hastings Castle in the background, this is looking to the east.

This is very close to its original location in the town centre where it stood for over 110 years. However only persons looking through the smartphone app can see the Apparition. The illustrated vintage image above this shows the Clocktower back in the day.

Priory Meadow Cricket Ground (1864 - 1996)

The cricket ground was both close to the sea and the town centre, where another major local landmark resided that I recreated in the first version of the app - The Memorial Clocktower (1864 -1973) and below are a series of screen grabs of the 3D model we made that magically pops up in the smartphone when viewing a postcard of it, anywhere.

It was used for first-class and List A cricket between 1864 and 1996. The ground was frequently used by Sussex County Cricket Club as one of their outgrounds from 1865; in total, Sussex played 143 first-class and 17 List A matches at the ground. Between 1887 and the 1960s, the Central Recreation Ground also played host to the Hastings & St Leonards cricket festival, which attracted many other teams and notable players. In the early twentieth century, the ground hosted seven Gentlemen v Players matches, and notable players to have played at the ground include W.G. Grace, Don Bradman, Jack Hobbs and Denis Compton. Grace made over 40 appearances at the ground, whilst both Hobbs and Compton broke the record for most first-class centuries in a season at the Central Recreation Ground. The ground also hosted a women's one-day international between England and New Zealand in 1984. 

Who is it for ?
The experience is for anyone that can see or hear the time-travelling phenomena of Apparitions. Smartphone savvy younger family members can show elders how to use it - by pointing the camera of the smartphone and the postcard and rotating it, you effectively modify the result as you 'zoom-in' to different pockets of sounds, samples, eras and atmospheric ambience. Seeing an 'Apparition' artwork  pop out in augmented reality is particularly magical for older people who have real memories of the lost place or a fondness for a bygone time. Triggering memories, nostalgia, and encouraging interaction (as family members assist each other in touring the virtual model experienced using smartphones) can increase reminiscent discussion and generate new threads about Heritage preservation with social & historical importance. 

As more and more new people move into the town and we witness its gentrification, I realised they (like me once) maybe oblivious to what once stood here. Sometimes the damage was sustained by bombs during the World Wars, but sadly others were removed due to council issues such as town planning improvements. You can experience what I mean by trying my artwork called 'Apparitions' launched in 2018 - here demolished historical landmarks reappear like ghosts when viewed in Smartphones through a technique called augmented reality*.

The artworks can preserve lost heritage and illustrate the errors of demolishing the past (and the need not to repeat them.) Even more pertinent and controversial right now as we see Hastings Pier is gated and been shut since  December after changing ownership in June last year and harsh budgets cut for Hastings Borough Council trimmed funds for all areas including the arts.

Crowdfunding will allow me to build on the current app - updating it with the new lost heritage and by covering the  costs of a version that will loads onto Android phones (current app only runs on Apple devices ) to reach as many people as possible. You don't have to be in Hastings or St Leonards to have the experience.

How it works

To view 'Apparition's you use an Apple iPad or iPhone (an Android version is in the process of being developed) and the Apparitions app, which is triggered by viewing with the device’s camera one of the three postcards which were produced specifically for the project.

*Augmented Reality
(AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are ‘augmented’ by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple senses including visual, audio, touch and smell. The overlaid sensory information can be constructive (i.e. additive to the natural environment) or destructive (i.e. masking of the natural environment) and is seamlessly interwoven with the physical world such that it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment. In this way, augmented reality alters one’s ongoing perception of a real world environment, in contrast to virtual reality which completely replaces the user’s real world environment with a simulated one.” 

(edited from text at Wikipedia.)

Once the app has been triggered by one of the postcards a form of real world “apparition” appears on the device’s screen; the resulting image is a three-dimensional computer generated model of one of the lost landmarks, set on top of the postcard and combined with the real world background that the postcard is in.

This 2 minute video ( do turn sound on ) takes you onto St Leonards Pier ( 1891-1951) and I really hope you get the telescopic effect -  sounds change as the camera gets closer to different areas ; skating, first cinema film reel screening here, angling, cafe gossip, steam boats, storms, music hall etc

Here is a short video of the model my designer made in SketchUp3D software, much attention and detail was applied to unique railings, kiosks with Edwardian finishes and scale is perfect.

Sound is very important in making Apparitions 'immersive' with time-travelling powers in its postcard portals, so interviews with locals who remember it well, have interesting anecdotes will be invited  to capture their personal and  classic memories that maybe lost when the older generations pass away. For instance I have heard memories of a great cricket commentator often arriving for the day with a box of wine, special matches that ended spectacularly, ambient and family memories with atmospheric noises encapsulating its existence from 1864 - 1996 will be assembled digitally to experience whilst viewing the model and postcard. Extra media eg : photographic records offered from the general public and their associated voice recordings and like material will be on show in Hastings Priory meadow shopping centre and ideally in the museum & Art Gallery later this year & Bexhill museum.

What I do

I am a mid career independent artist and researcher ( Greenwich University : Dept of Psychology) and I have researched & collected images of lost landmarks in my hometown of St Leonards & Hastings, East Sussex, UK because I am fascinated by the relationship of history, new technologies, memory & dreams. This led me to create a mobile phone artwork that brings them back to life in 3D with sounds.

The Apparitions project required me to find the right people to help make it happen, and I managed to secure some Arts Council of England funding to release a version for iPhones in September 2018. Postcards sponsored by 'Judge Sampsons' the local classic postcard printers were distributed free in specific locations including Source Park, Royal Victoria Hotel and Hastings Museum with instructions to download the free iOS app and to explore. For the initial smartphone app that triggers the lost landmarks 'Apparitions' I employed other creative experts to help me realise the work professionally in 3D modelling, user interface and the mobile app design. I will continue to work with the three main people for sound, user interface and 3 modelling for this next location. I use my creative talents with the brainwave technology as a way to exemplify mediation and enhance creativity as a consultant and I also teach monthly on the Digital Media Arts MA in Brighton university.

So far Apparitions app has 3 sites - all these places no longer exist; the Clocktower was damaged by arson and subsequently demolished in 1973, the pier suffered bomb damage in World War II and then severe gale damage and was demolished in 1951, while the beach huts were destroyed in a storm in 1905 and almost all of their contents washed out to sea.

The images are each accompanied by their own individual soundtrack which adds an extra sense of immersive layering to the artworks; an older gent with a personal family connection to the site narrates the story of the Beach Huts washing away, holiday makers’ conversations interweave with recordings of period entertainers in the Pier section and the sounds of celebrations, day-to-day life, chiming bells and traffic can be heard while viewing the Clocktower (accompanied by the sounds of seagulls, this being the seaside).

Whilst making and showing the work in public in Hastings & St Leonards it became apparent there is a strong nostalgia for Priory Meadow Cricket Ground in Hastings (1864 - 1996), which was demolished to make way for a shopping centre in the 1990's. Lots of people who filled out the feedback forms requested this as the next site I should make. Also the need for a separate build of the content that will run on Android phones is vital, as the current market shows a large bias for owners of non-Apple devices.

What I will make with the funding

To cover the costs for use to recreate the fourth attraction - a  nostalgic cricket ground in 3D, optimised for mobile phones and with a 2 minute soundtrack that encompasses highlights of its existence, matches and visitor memories. This will be launched to coincide with an exhibition about the Cricket ground with the public invited to submit stories and photos for us to display in a multi media exhibition in Hastings museum & Art Gallery or even in the shopping centre  that stands on its original site.

The cricket ground will be triggered from a postcard image, and rotated to explore in more detail. Match Highlights, unusual occurrences & memories will emanate within a soundscape that contains found and simulated recordings to help travel back in time.
From Edwardian times to the 1980's the ground's game Stories will be preserved in this unusual way. A soundscape can convey events in augmented reality attached to different parts of the postcard - for instance : In 1905, the ground hosted a circus, in which American tight rope champion Hermann Davidson fell 60 feet (18 m) to his death after falling off the balancing pole during a performance. Davidson was 45 years old, and had begun training to be a tight-rope walker at the age of 10. In 1948 it flooded, the ground had previously flooded in 1866, when one resident noted that it had been underwater many times within their memory.

The above & below images show  people experiencing 'Edwardian Beach huts' which are 3D models moving in a mixed reality scene, with the real teapot that survived the storm that destroyed all the huts in 1905. The story of this event is narrated when viewing the huts that appear to bob about before disappearing into clouds. 

Mixed Reality

Click on the video with dog here to see a very short video recorded through the screen of an iPad as the augmented reality occurs..


Thank you


Recommendations :

"What a beautiful event this was !

An exciting, tasteful blending of past and present through augmented reality software.

Bringing memories back to life using sight and sounds !

The free app download brings a unique artistic experience for all,

literally to one's fingertips"


"Fantastic to see iconic Hastings landmarks come to life.

All senses are stimulated as you are transported back in time with

 the immersive sound track. Brilliant!"


"Remember the promise of cyberspace, as presented in Gibson's novels? Or the VR holo-ads promised for 'the future' in Tokyo? these things have been emerging in reality for a while. new VR specs, live-fi and smart phones with apps all offer new and exciting possibilities. Apparitions is a great showcase for iOS platform VR modelling, very cleverly triggered by the external art postcards they've produced of old Hastings & St Leonards landmarks. I recommend spending time on the Palace Pier especially, it;s soundscapes are excellent too. Scaled up, invested in, and built on other platforms too, with next-gen phones handling more & more data, this is the future of extropian-wear, with 3D cinema-level rendering the lofty goal: These guys deserve a place at the table!"

If we get more funds than needed 

We will add extra functionality - a 'swipe screen' to reveal before and after of the site over the years can be built in. As well as a simple 'one-touch' screen grab function to encourage people to capture 'AR' layered over present reality making more creative photo opportunities both in town and abroad. I could also create another Apparition model with sound from local heritage from  public demand such as the the olympic Lido / Bathing Pool, Amsterdam shipwreck, Sommerfield house, or Castle we could organise a contest to request which place next. 

I would like to organise a series of exhibitions and workshops in the shopping centre itself and Hastings museum, Bexhill museum about Priory Meadow cricket ground and Apparitions augmented reality art

I can also offer rewards !

1. £10 Postcard sets x 5 early release ( unlimited )

Receive 5 complete sets of all 4 Apparitions ( including the new cricket ground ) in a special stamped bag with the app download ahead of public release.

2. £25 Limited edition mounted print of an Apparition ( 40 of these)

Quality UV resistant ink 'Giclee' numbered &  limited edition A4 size print of any Apparition for wall hanging in a mitred mount ready for framing, they will trigger the experiences like the postcards but are good for hanging at home.

3. £50 Large poster (20 of these )

An A1 size limited edition poster print of any of the Apparitions for wall hanging - suitable for bars, clubs, hotels foyers & other larger spaces. The app can be experience by many people at the same time on unique devices whilst sitting down if the posters are mounted at shoulder level .

4. £150 company/ patron logo added to loading screen

Anyone or company pledging £150 or more will receive an invitation to be credited as a supporter of arts and heritage in the app.  As a supporter their logo will appear in the loading screen. With additional Android release the app could reach over 40,000 smartphone users. Logos will also be added to the postcards which are distributed freely with the download link of the app


Download here free 
or search for 'APPARITIONS AR' on iOS App Store and look for the teapot :

How to use :

If you have an iPhone or iPad you can try the existing work :

You need wifi only for the intitial 'app' to download then it will work absolutely anywhere with the postcards and works offline. When the app is first loaded a metal plated teapot bobs gently in one corner, which you touch to launch the artwork and it is also featuring during the Beach Huts section of the augmented reality experience.

You use the camera of your smartphone to literally zoom into the model and the sounds change with it.. along the pier for instance are different activities like bowling, skating, dancing, gossip, a zoo even ! 

At the Apparitions’ site it is explained that the teapot was chosen in part as it represents the only surviving possession from when the Beach Huts were destroyed and their contents washed out to sea as it was rescued after being seen bobbing about in the sea on the shore the next day.

There is something particularly evocative about this item, its sole survival and prominent use in Apparitions :

“Within the app, the teapot becomes an unlikely but quintessentially English symbol of survival and continuity.”


Luciana Haill

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