Residents and visitors could soon be able to take a step back in time and virtually walk through Lochee streets in 1939.
Mike Garty, who grew up in Lochee, is leading a project to create a virtual augmented reality to help share the history of an area known as Tipperary – located between Marshall Street and Atholl Street.
He hopes the virtual reality technology will allow people to walk through houses, listen to sounds and hear the stories of people who lived in Tipperary.
Speaking to the Tele, Mike, director of TPLD, said: “Tipperary is synonymous with Irish immigrants, it is a small area of about 30 or 40 houses and it is where my family are born and bred.
“I have a strong personal connection to the place.
“It started off as a personal project to learn and develop the local history of the area, but by using virtual reality technology people will be able to actually visualise and experience life in Lochee in 1939.
“You will be able to enter different properties and hear about the lives of the people who lived there, find out what it was like to work there, where the people shopped – it will be a social history of Lochee.
“There are lots of different stories to tell.
He continued: “There is one very, very famous one about a guy who was shot as a deserter during the war called Toad Fitzgerald – there was even a play written about him and performed at Dundee Rep.”
Mike has been working with the local history group from Lochee Library to trawl through all the censuses, public records and historical photographs to research Tipperary’s history.
And although the project is still in its early stages, he has partnered up with Abertay University and been given a grant from the university’s InGAME to get the technology to make this dream a reality, such as 3D virtual reality headsets, tablet-based augmented reality and GPS.
Mike continued: “There are two main audiences, those who are interested in life at that time in general and want to know what it was like to live there and experience that through a virtual simulation, and then people who have a connection to the place – for older folk it will be a walk down memory lane.
“Younger kids could be taught this local history at school.
“Often we need to depend on having stories and photographs being passed down, but this would give people the chance to be part of that history.
“Imagine a virtual Verdant Works – you would go in and experience the streets and sounds of a jute mill at that point in time, that is the ambition I have for Tipperary with this project.
“For example you could go and sit in Mary Slessor Gardens after you have done a tour of the V&A and get onto the WiFi and learn about the streets of Tipperary – you will get a full history of the city.”
He added: “I want to emphasise the community spirit that exists in Lochee and the spirit of the Tipperary community.
“People in Lochee can feel very neglected these days, and this is an opportunity to commemorate the Lochee that most people remember and associate with.”