It is one of the world’s great churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years. Now, for the first time, visitors from around the world can take a virtual tour inside Westminster Abbey using Google Street View.
The tour gives visitors the chance to explore the Abbey – the Coronation church since 1066 and the setting for countless other great events in the life of the nation – in unprecedented detail.
Developed with Google Street View trusted photographer Jo Hailey from www.strikingplaces.com, the tour guides users through the splendour of the Abbey church, where they will see treasures including the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor, the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, the High Altar and the Coronation Chair, in high dynamic range.
Among the many distinguished figures from our history buried and commemorated in the Abbey, visitors will find memorials to seventeen kings and queens, as well as to writers such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen; and to great scientists, musicians and politicians, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, George Frederic Handel and Sir Winston Churchill.
The next stage of the project will see the Abbey develop a series of themed online tours designed especially for teachers and schools. The tours, due to be launched next year, will feature detailed descriptions of the Abbey’s history and architecture and its role in national life, and will support learning across subjects including Religious Education and History.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: ‘In 2010, Her Majesty The Queen opened the Abbey’s Education Centre with the purpose of supporting school groups and families with children and enabling them to have the best experience in visiting the Abbey. The response has been magnificent. We have been pondering how to extend to young people and others, who cannot for the time being visit the Abbey, something of the experience available for our many visitors. I am delighted that this new collaboration will enable people from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo and beyond to see and learn so much more than previously about the magnificence and significance of this great and beautiful Church.’
Charles Armstrong, Street View Product Manager at Google, said: ‘This beautiful collection highlights the splendour of Westminster Abbey, the value of Street View publishing, and some truly exceptional imagery on the part of the photographer. We’re delighted to see and support awareness for such powerful content.’