Kingston Trails was a collaborative project between Kingston University academics and students, local professionals and Kingston Museum. The 2012 launch coincided with the Olympic Road Cycling Races and Time Trials, which came through Kingston and significantly increased local visitor numbers. The trail is part of the Olympic legacy, encouraging locals and visitors alike to get active while discovering the diverse heritage and open spaces of Kingston-Upon-Thames.
The Heritage Trail visits 20 sites in Kingston and takes about 2 hours to walk. Each site was researched by members of staff and students at Kingston University, and many of the sites are discussed in ‘talking head’ videos, available to view on the interactive online map. One of the aims of the project was to provide an opportunity for Kingston University students to interact with the local community and develop new research skills. Some of our third year history students researched sites of interest in Kingston, wrote scripts and presented their work, taking them into our local archives and giving them a taster of what it could be like to be a TV historian.
The trail is based on the Kingston Borough Royal Walkabout. Locations include Kingston’s ancient market place, a Jacobean Staircase, the Bentall shopping centre and the Druid’s Head pub, showing Kingston’s rich history from the tenth-century to the present day.
The project was managed by Elise Barron from Kingston University’s Sustainability Hub, and Nicola Phillips of the Centre for the Historical Record recruited and supported student volunteers. External support came from Kingston Museum and Heritage Service and Dr Nick Barratt from Sticks Research Agency.