WiciPics: creating a record of Wales' built heritage

The National Library of Wales is teaming up with Menter Iaith Môn, with funding from the Welsh Government, to deliver the WiciPics project.

This is a crowdsourcing project which encourages local communities and individuals to explore and engage with their local built heritage. Contributors can upload photographs of historical sites using an interactive map and all the images contributed will form a new free digital archive for Peoples Collection Wales, The National Library of Wales and Wikipedia, where the images can be used to illustrate relevant articles. Wikipedia is a fantastic platform to collaboratively record and share our local history and recent studies have shown that having good quality Wikipedia articles can help to significantly boost tourism.

As part of the project the National Library will also work directly (remotely) with schools to get kids snapping buildings in their area and then teach them how to use those images to improve relevant Wikipedia articles, particularly on the Welsh language Wicipedia.

The project has been running for a few weeks and will run into the New Year, so there is still plenty of time to contribute. Already, hundreds of images have been donated, capturing a wide variety of built heritage.

Lead mining was a huge industry, particularly in Ceredigion and many of the mine sites have been worked for hundreds if not thousands of years, but they are disappearing quickly as nature reclaims once sprawling industrial sites. The following image (by Chris Popham) shows the remains of mining machinery at Plynlimon Lead Mine near Eisteddfa Gurig:

Many historic buildings are sadly lost completely; some are redeveloped beyond all recognition, whilst others leave behind just a small reminder of what once was, such as this portico (photographed by Geraint Tudur), which is now all that remains of the grand Penrhyn Arms Hotel which stood for over 120 years on the outskirts of Bangor. Built as a hotel for wealthy travellers it was later used by the University of North Wales. It was eventually demolished to make way for the A5 road which was diverted across this exact location.

Chapels in Wales are also closing, being sold or developed into houses at a rapid rate, so creating a snapshot of this heritage now is hugely important. Below is a photograph of Hen Gapel Llanuwchllyn and chapel house (by Geraint Tudur) - the birthplace of Michael D. Jones who founded the Welsh colony in Patagonia:

Anyone can take part in the WiciPics project using a phone or camera to snap pictures of a range of different sites, from religious buildings, schools and libraries to hospitals, hill forts and factories.

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