Shakespeare archives app launched by birthplace trust

Image caption,
The app features images of a lock of Shakespeare's hair, previously unseen by the public

Thousands of documents about Shakespeare, including previously unseen material, have been released on a free mobile phone app.

The Eye Shakespeare app was created by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust based in Stratford-upon-Avon and Coventry University's Serious Games Institute.

It features items previously unavailable to the public such as images of a lock of the bard's hair.

David Hopes, from the trust, said it was about reaching new audiences.

The documents are currently kept in a secure vault in Stratford-upon-Avon and have been scanned and photographed for the app.

They include Shakespeare's birth and death records, the court record of the purchase of New Place in Straford-upon-Avon as well as the only surviving letter written to him.

Images of a lock of hair belonging to Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway, and a dice found during a recent archaeological dig at New Place have also been featured.

'Tourism boost'

The app cost £500,000 to develop with the help of a grant from the Technology Strategy Board.

Mr Hopes said it also has an augmented reality feature.

"Visitors will be able to hold the phone up in Stratford and the technology within it will be able to visualise Shakespeare's first home as it was then," he said.

Tim Luft, director of the Coventry university's Serious Games Institute, said developers would be adding more content to the app over the summer.

"Millions of people visit Stratford every year and yet the trust's collection of internationally and historically significant artefacts and documents has remained unseen to the vast majority of them," he said.

"We hope the app will prove a hit with visitors to Stratford and will also play its part in boosting tourism in the region."

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