Hoxton Hall given new life in audio app


An immersive audio tour charting the history of one of Hackney’s most famous landmarks has begun at Hoxton Hall.

Hoxton Hall was built in 1863. It offered refuge to street children and child prostitutes in the 19th century, was transformed into a bomb shelter during the London Blitz, and is now a music and arts hall and creative office space.

Hoxton Hall. credit: Hoxton Hall.

Created by a team specialising in sound, movement and technology, the 50-minute audio tour offers an artistic interpretation of the building’s history, and aims to create a personal, emotional and atmospheric experience for visitors.

The tour, A Collection of Small Choices, comes as part of the SmallChoices app available on the App Store.

Creator of the app Hannah Bruce explained: “The experience was designed to be atmospheric, and very real. We think that using immersive sound influences other senses, so that hopefully people have a heightened experience of the building, and the passage of time, as they hear the characters around them.

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity to explore the building by moving through it yourself. You are encouraged to discover all sorts of nooks and crannies which are normally off limits.”

Each of the characters on the tour is based on a real person, taking the visitor on a journey through the building and prompting them to open doors and peek through keyholes as they learn about local history.

All of the stories told during the tour are similarly inspired by real events taken from the Hoxton Hall archive, now housed in Hackney Library.

Participation manager of the hall Boris Witzenfeld said: “We thought about finding a new and innovative way to connect people to the history and heritage of Hoxton Hall. The idea of using an app to do that came from various other projects that we had seen which used this technology to great effect and thought it would be an innovative experience that we are delighted to offer for free for Hoxton Hall.