Worcestershire Heritage in Minecraft
In May to July 2017 The Infirmary was awarded funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and The Hive and ran two programmes to engage young people with heritage from Worcestershire using Minecraft and LEGO. The project was called Virtually Rebuilding Worcestershire's Lost Buildings and a group of 13 from Green Fingers Project signed up to the challenge to recreate Powick Hospital over a three day experience. There was expert Minecraft support from students from Computer Games design degree at University of Worcester, long serving volunteer Ken Crump provided his memories of working at Powick Hospital from 1960's to when it closed in 1989. A trip to the Worcestershire Archaeology and Archives Service in the basement of The Hive gave the young people an introduction to what is in the archives and they saw the original plans of Powick Hospital from 1850s. They also saw a letter sent from The Titanic - not something seen often. They visited The Infirmary to get an idea of size for the wards and also visited the former site of the Hospital with Ken to find out where things were located.
Each day they returned to the room to build their Minecraft version with those not interested in Minecraft using LEGO and plans to build the Chapel. After three days there was some great creativity, imagination and interpreted styles of the Hospital. Comment cards included facts about the original hospitals covering 30 football fields, new information they remembered and their enjoyment at visiting the exhibition. What do you think of the work they produced? Some had never played Minecraft before but proved very creative in their designs and the 21st century version included a 'Bridge of Despair' and a secret basement.
Powick Hospital in Minecraft
Each young person was allocated a rectangle of land and provided images of the original plan and asked to interpret it. The scale of building is captured and the different building materials show that they each considered their plans.
Powick hospital chapel in lego
The LEGO fans were careful in following the plans for the Chapel which was at Powick Hospital built in the Victorian era.
None of the young people had visited the archives at The Hive and were impressed with a letter from The Titanic, seals and signatures from both Queen Elizabeths and of course the Powick Hospital case notes and plans.
Family workshops at The hive
Another side of the project was inviting families to build lost and existing heritage from Worcestershire in Minecraft. For eight weeks, every Tuesday evening after school we had families visit and they built their favourite buildings. Can you spot your favourite? Many include internal decorations too and they were very impressive copying from photos and plans. One patient and ambitious player who built the golden Hive said "I liked it and wish i could go again".
Thank you to Heritage Lottery Fund, The Hive for funding the project and to Ken Crump, University of Worcester students Rob, James, Gillian and Chris, Green Fingers Project team and all the families who came for the evenings at The Hive.