Headstone Manor

A turnkey solution aimed at making Headstone Manor a must-see local attraction and sustainable community hub, including audiovisual and digital interactive exhibits and a web app.

Over 700 Local Years of History

Headstone Manor is part of Harrow Museum. Built around 1310, it is the earliest surviving timber framed building in Middlesex. It is surrounded by the only surviving filled moat in the county, dating from the14th century. It was a residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury until 1546 when it was surrendered to Henry VIII and sold to one of his court favourites, remaining in private ownership for nearly four centuries.

With dramatic extensions and changes made over the years Headstone Manor has notable features that include the panelling of the great hall dating from 1631 and the brick façade added in the 1770s. An outstanding complex of associated buildings is recognised through its designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Working with interpretive designers Imagemakers we delivered a range of immersive audiovisual and digital interactive exhibits and a web-app digital tour.

Mobile app and tablet tour

Digital interpretation at Headstone Manor is delivered through a location aware mobile app available on android “carry round” tablets or on the visitor’s own mobile device. Visitors can choose between children’s and adult’s trails to follow around the buildings, or navigate using an interactive pan/zoom building plan.

The app provides access to further information about the objects on display in the various rooms and the stories associated with the place and its people. This deeper content is delivered using film and audio sequences, CGI integration with augmented reality as well as text and images. iBeacons placed at the entrance to each room enable the app to automatically switch to the relevant room page as visitors enter.

Visitors can curate their own visit by choosing their favourite objects. Publishing these to the Headstone Facebook page helps to drive social media interest and create a deeper connection with the user whilst also providing key feedback about the displays to the museum.

In-app games provide some fun for visitors: an exploratory trail uses questions related to clues in the interpretive content to discover the items along the trail and a matching pairs game invites further exploration.

The app is loaded on a stock of locked-down tablets, running as a native app. The tablets receive wireless updates from our content management system, located on a stand-alone staff computer.

Coded in HTML5, the web app is available for free download from the Google Play store for Android devices and the App Store for Apple devices. The app can be downloaded before the visit or by using the free public wi-fi available on-site in the Welcome Building.

Immersive Audiovisual

An immersive film located at the western end of the Small Barn, a 16th Century Grade 2 listed building, introduces the core story of Headstone and Harrow from the prehistoric to the present day, preparing people for their visit to the rest of the site. Rear projected onto a bespoke triptych screen, the film delivers the story in three chapters: Prehistoric to 1310; 1310 to Georgian; and Victorian to the present day.

It takes visitors on a six minute journey through time, from an encounter with an hunter gatherer to a modern Asian wedding. The film uses costumed actors supported by CGI backgrounds, archive material, narration, music, and audio and visual effects.

Elsewhere in the house, a sensor triggered projection of Mrs Bucknall, with directional audio, discusses the new brick façade and preparations for a coming out party for her daughter.

Digital Interactives

Touchscreen interactives, housed in bespoke oak lecterns, draw video, audio, image, and text-based content from a central content management system to deliver interpretation for each of the building's rooms. A series of games and interactive challenges encourage younger visitors to explore, including an animals and crops pairs game designed for key stage 1, and a working on the farm "grow your own crops" game for key stage 2.

A CGI recreation of the house enables visitors to see its different architectural phases.  An interactive floor plan provides accesses to content about each room, including oral histories and a film detailing the story of the building’s restoration.  Visitors can also listen to interviews with descendants of the Hall family, who share memories and anecdotes passed down from generation to generation.

Talking Portraits

In the Kodak Room a talking portrait video brings a local farmer to life.  He talks about how the area is rapidly changing from agriculture to industry - when he started farming here there was nothing but farms and fields, but now huge new factories are being built in no time, creating lots of new jobs, which makes it harder to keep farm workers on the land...

Oral Histories

Oral histories feature throughout Headstone Manor, either as part of the touchscreen exhibits or triggered by visitors entering the rooms.  Mrs Hill talks about Victorian progress, voicing the fears she had over the railway and the impact of its construction before going on to talk about its benefits. Elsewhere, Mrs Redyng talks about how she came to be mistress at Headstone because of Henry VIII, who took control of the manor from the Archbishop and then leased it out. In the Buttery, Mrs Pinn warmly welcomes visitors to her pantry as she prepares a feast for the Archbishop’s visit, explaining why he is visiting and describing the food against the backdrop of the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen.


We specified, commissioned and installed all hardware systems, ensuring they fully integrated with the bespoke exhibition furniture. The nature of some of the buildings required all hardware to be IP rated, ensuring it was suitably robust and capable of withstanding high humidity levels and potential water ingress.