Battle Abbey Visitor Centre


English Heritage
July 2016

For the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, Clay designed and produced a suite of interactive exhibits for English Heritage's Battle Abbey visitor centre and Gatehouse exhibition site. Through a series of interactive exhibits and soundtracks, the story of the fight for the throne and the implication of the battle are explained through easy to understand animations.

Who was the rightful heir?

This very physical interactive encourages visitors to vote with their feet, standing behind either William the Conqueror or King Harold as they argue their right to the throne. A Kinect sensor tracks visitor movement and the realtime 3D animation, inspired by contemporary gaming, responds to their wishes.

The exhibit encourages physical engagement that is popular with the site's diverse audience, and uses a light-hearted tone to deliver some of the complex details of why these two leaders went into battle.

Touchscreen Exhibits

Two interactive exhibits explore how William went on to conquer England, and then what affects this had on culture.

Using playful contemporary 3D animations, visitors choose a side and are challenged to assemble their ships and march their forces across the country to battle field.

Using hand-animated sequences and humorous sound design, examples of what the Normans brought to Britain are delivered as compelling animated tableaux in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry. Visitors swipe along the scrolling display to move through the unfolding scenes.

Gatehouse Soundtrack

Clay produced two soundtracks for the magnificent Gatehouse exhibition space. Designed to be historically accurate and deeply evocative of the event, the soundscapes support the exhibition designed by Leigh Cain Creative.

The first room covers how both sides prepared for battle, with bespoke sound design featuring exclusive recordings of poems and mass recitals.

The second room features the intense drama of the battle, with authentic Saxon and Norman cries, retelling the bloody conflict in a haunting and memorable experience.