The work of the heritage sector, and its ability to interpret and present the past to diverse audiences through many different and exciting methods, has interested me for some time now. I therefore cherish the opportunity to delve into the local histories of new areas, and this was the case when I moved to Egham to study at Royal Holloway.
As a Geography student at Royal Holloway, I was first awakened to the international significance of Magna Carta and the complex natural and historical landscape of Runnymede in a first year tutorial task in which I visited the three major memorials of the area: the American Bar Association Magna Carta Memorial, the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial and the John F. Kennedy Memorial.
Now entering my third year of study at the university, I am embarking upon a dissertation concerning Magna Carta and how this helps shape local identity, in conjunction with Egham Museum. Undertaking this study close to the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta has fuelled my desire to increase, and share, my understanding of how Magna Carta’s legacy has helped define the characteristics of Runnymede and the surrounding area.
When the opportunity arose for me to work on the Magna Carta App and develop my ideas in a way in which I could also make a contribution to the anniversary commemorations, I was delighted.
I’m creating a trail about the Geography of Runnymede that explores how the rich natural environment of Runnymede and the history which surrounds it have served to create a complex landscape identity.
I want to offer visitors exciting and enlightening information about how Runnymede fulfils a broad range of roles – from a natural and agricultural landscape with meadows and a riverside location, to a landscape of leisure with a history of horse racing, sun bathing and boating, and a landscape of celebration and commemoration with a past of pageants, ceremony and memorials.
I have very much enjoyed my experience working on the App. It has enabled me to work in an encouraging team environment, to develop my research and writing skills and finally it has given me an even deeper appreciation of the dynamic existence of Runnymede, something I hope that users of the App will gain too.