Skip to main content

tv   Virtual Mayflower Project  CSPAN  December 29, 2020 7:25pm-8:01pm EST

7:25 pm
c-span 3. and that plymouth england harm our forward set sail. here's a look. in 16 20, the mayflower traveled from plymouth england to america. the plymouth colony on the coast of massachusetts. we talked to robert stone about the virtual mayflower project, which uses virtual reality to re-create the ship and harbor from which they set sail using avatars and 360-degree images of the virtual world, professor stone described what life might have been like for the pilgrims and crew. some historic features we will
7:26 pm
see in the virtual rendering are the 17th-century port, plymouth castle, at a ship that was set to sail with the mayflower to america but was deemed not seaworthy and returned to port. >> virtual 1620 has been a labor of love for 6 years, to use virtual reality to bring up part of england, the west of the country, back to life. so people who live there and abroad can experience what is like for the pilgrims in their traumatic journey across the atlantic in 1620. what was the last thing they saw before they got on this leaky, creaky ship? and made their way out into the treacherous atlantic, centuries ago? >> we are we aren't the
7:27 pm
moment, it is known as the smart key. if you move to the right you can make out the mast of the speedwell. we will leave it looking sorry for herself listing to port in the harbor, where there were ship repairs going on. the structure you are seeing now, where these fine people are having a chat, this is reminiscent of an old fish market, so a lot of the fish would be brought and filletted, that would be done here. ships would be mored and
7:28 pm
delivering their fish -- moored and delivering their fish to those who would box it up and put onto wagons or taken directly to stores outside the buildings behind us. we have tried to make it look much clearer. you can see that it is quite dirty, a lot of mud, not very hygienic. today, most of this will be covered by paving slabs or concrete. but in 1620, there is very little of that. a lot of wood, a lot of wood and keys in docking areas would have been there. on the left would be the location of the bakery. this bakery still exists.
7:29 pm
it is the oldest bakery in the u.k. it would have provided snacks, biscuits and food, that the pilgrims would have taken on board the mayflower for their final journey. it still sells a variety of breads and biscuits and pies, even today. it is a very popular bakery. many pubs will come onto the street later which is renowned for its pubs, and a lot of accommodations. the people who lived in this area would have been fishermen and their wives who would helped prepare and sell the fish.
7:30 pm
the front pieces of these houses, had we had time, what have been covered with barrels, and shelves, with selling all kinds of things from a wine to fish. we are now getting closer to the gate. you can see the mayflower in the distance. the mayflower is moored in that area, and we will see the current location of the harbor commissioner's office. on the left you can see the image, of the fish house. you can see the remains of the chain coming from the fish house. there is some argument that the chain was not around in the 1620s but it is a historically
7:31 pm
important feature. if you look to your right, the southern pier, an area not very reputable. to the side of the archway you can see where today the harbormaster's offices, just to the right of these steps is today's tourist office. to the right of that is a house where the pilgrims, many pilgrims, have had the last couple of nights in england. the steps are kabul steps -- co astle steps and they would have originally gone to the castle. this is known as damnation alley, that single route had 10
7:32 pm
pubs and each pub was a brothel. not a very nice place. but you have sailors coming in, fishermen coming in, and if they wanted all manner of relief, that is where they would go. you see ireland house to the right. what we call jetty houses, and behind this, the famous elizabethan house. they're called jetty because as they go up, each floor sticks out more than the one underneath, and is called a jetty house. if you want to see the stores, they would've brought not just nagging wives but also convicts here.
7:33 pm
they would have been put in stocks, some of the offenders would have been put into stocks. at the moment we have the southern harbor at low tide. so someone would have been dumped in mud as opposed to water. if you look up, you can see plymouth castle. plymouth castle may have been more in a state of ruin than what we show here. where you are looking out you can see the tower in the distance, that is an outer gatehouse, and that is the only piece of the castle that exists today. you walk up a hill and you can get in and see the remains of that gatehouse.
7:34 pm
again, i am sure it would be prettier than this. when you are walking around in real time, these guys are moving around and some are having an argument, and we can go to the part of the actual entry. a covered walkway down to the steps themselves. again, a lot of controversy over whether the real mayflower steps exist. there is talk they are still in existence underneath the ladies restroom in one pub, i am not too sure that is accurate. but we have them where they are tickly placed in most of the maps that we have seen. at the base of the steps we have a little [indiscernible] not to similar to the one the mayflower took to cape cod, and they were able to assemble it because it was taken in the
7:35 pm
cargo bay and put in four pieces. they had to assemble it and then they took it onto land in provincetown, and they took it to land on plymouth at the famed plymouth rock. and then in the virtual-reality demonstration you can see the fish house there. you can see the chain, even though it may not have been there in the 1620's it was the most important part of the fortification. so observers in plymouth castle could look down and if they thought there was a threat, the chain up. and that would protect them from this french or the spanish. you are taken out in this leaky boat, and are able to look
7:36 pm
around, to see the view, the last few of plymouth that the mayflower pilgrims would have seen. the system will not take you up onto the ship itself -- will take you up onto the ship itself. and we have various pilgrims and crew. the guy in front of you with a hat on, is not well, and that is bad news because the ship has not left harbor yet, so he is not going to fare very well going over to the americas in the coming weeks, the coming 66 days these guys and gals were at sea. we can look back into plymouth. the castle in some state of ruin, probably the last few they would see before sailing out across plymouth sound. when you look at the map there may have been a beacon or a wind mill, we do not know and
7:37 pm
then past drake's island, into the atlantic. and onto the americas. the guy you are seeing here with the bouffant hair style is our representation of edward winslow. we decided to put one avatar representative of unknown character. and winslow obviously because the present day [indiscernible]. if you have the opportunity to go forward we would be able to go into places like that captain's cabin. and christopher jones, i would like to do a virtual-reality of christopher jones and get them
7:38 pm
to explain their stories. william brewster, bradford, a woman who gave birth during the transit. also john hoglund was a servant of the governor across -- on board the ship and he has amazing stories. he fell overboard during the 66 day crossing of the atlantic, but managed miraculously to grab a robe and pulled himself back on board. -- grab a rope and pulled himself back on board. if he had not done that, george w bush and george bush would never have existed because they are descendents of john howland. the relatives and descendents, if we can make avatars tell their story, how fantastic that would be? so we are going into the stern of the ship. that structure was designed to pull in wires and rope and secure secure the ship and
7:39 pm
various pieces of cargo coming onto the ship. the main deck, here is where you have the steerage office. that is called a capstan. you can see the stick on the left. that was a small stick that controlled the rudder, the steerage of the ship. then you have the captain's cabin, obviously the best cabin on the ship. he had his own little bed. this is where we believe that mayflower compact and which bradford had a large hand, when you see the picture they are signing the compact before they set sail to provincetown and plymouth. this is where the compact would have been drawn up and signed.
7:40 pm
above the captain's cabin on the poop deck is another tiny office. it is a little cabin which would contain weapons, maps and one thing we hope to do in the future, while you can go downstairs, go below, it was nowhere as near as spacious as this. the gap between the ceiling and floor is about five feet. you can see the capstan coming through. we need to put in what would have brought in the anchors, and many more beds, many more pieces of cargo, spinning wheels, cribs, furniture, animals. this is the area where most of the 102 passengers would have stayed, and it is tiny.
7:41 pm
it is absolutely tiny. it looks spacious here. sadly, we did not have time to finish it off. but if you look at the capstan, that was something i photographed at plymouth plantation to get the accuracy of the capstan from that visit. you can see behind the ladder. it may have been a ladder or a rope ladder, we do not know. you can see the mechanism of the tiller, coming down from the deck above. and then the complex wooden beam that goes to the stern, and the rudder. again, a lot of things going on, a lot of armaments, weapons. i cannot even get my head around what would it would have been like to have been cramped
7:42 pm
on for 66 days. rarely would they go on deck. it was calm and then stormy and nearly dangerous. extraordinarily dangerous. toward the bow there is another area you can go to. that cabin there, where most of the 30 sailors would have slept. they would have slept in the stern as well although that was reserved for officers. and that is where most of the cooking would have been done. there is a brickwork kiln or oven there. hanging meat. again, not particularly hygienic. some of the water and beer because obviously they were taking it. bear was healthier than water because water was badly infected.
7:43 pm
that would be brought up from the cargo hold in the depths of the ship and brought into here. we have done a fraction of the things. we would love to get sponsor to do -- if you look to the top of the deck you can see what looks like a small cannon. a swivel gun. i was not aware we had these weapons until plymouth plantation. they had two original weapons in the recreations of the houses at plymouth plantation. these were filled with tiny, miniature cannonballs. they would be used to repel borders, if they were attacked at sea. lots of detail we can do more with in terms of making this a more educational and historical tool, and we live in hope. >> before we exit the 360, can you talk about what the crossing would have been like? you mentioned they would have been below deck most of the time. what other details, if you did
7:44 pm
game this out, would you want to include? >> one of the original ambitions of the virtual mayflower project was to almost re-create part of the sailing virtually. to do it hand-in-hand with navy schools in massachusetts. because it would be great if we could then use the mayflower in plymouth to show schools in the u.s. what it was like on the journey. that we could work with schools and institutions in massachusetts, so they could show us what it was like when the mayflower arrived. the crossing itself would have been horrendous. we know there was one baby born. we know one person died. we know john howden had been thrown overboard -- had gone overboard. we know one of the main beams
7:45 pm
split during one of the most difficult storms. fortunately, they had a jackscrew and were able to put the beam back and keep it intact. if that had gone the whole ship would have been compromised. there were all kinds of events, and hardships, of being stuck in that tiny area. the seasickness would have been horrendous. the hygiene would have been horrendous. it is glamorously portrayed when you see the pilgrims kneeling and praying next to plymouth rock, but they must have been so glad to get off that ship. really, they must have been glad. the mayflower project is not your first foray into recreating historic ships. how did you get started into that? >> >> >> the first project, six years ago, was undertaken, again, as a labor of love, for the shipwreck museum in hastings, on the south coast of england. we put together a project to
7:46 pm
build a 3-d version. the fact that we were able to fly a drone and see the ship from the air, on its final resting place. when you fly the drone you can see the 3d and you can map that onto the ship itself, a world first. as a result we were invited to a lot of maritime conferences and meetings including the mayflower 400 trail, towns across england that were homes of the pilgrims before they made their way to london to set up for plymouth to board the ship. we were invited to consider whether we could do something similar for the mayflower, with the 400 anniversary close on the horizon.
7:47 pm
>> what did that look like? >> they were quite basic. this is the great thing about virtual reality, there are a lot of really good assets you can buy or download free of charge online. we were able to find two basic models, one of the mayflower and one of the ships that accompanied the mayflower, the speedwell. that was left in plymouth because she was leaking like a sieve. we were able to put these two shifts into virtual reality scenes using the same harbor model we used before. then we could put that into the virtual reality headset and allow members of the public and schoolchildren, and people involved in the trails town committee to experience what might be like, if we were given free reign and take in the project to its ultimate conclusion. >> were you given free rein?
7:48 pm
>> we were not given anything, we got zero funding for this project. all the early presentations and demonstrations came to nothing. the money had been spent extensively elsewhere. but being english born and bred and living in a town with a guy called edward winslow, one of the key pilgrims who sailed on the mayflower, it became a labor of love. we are going to do this, somehow. sure enough, we were able to do it. so we had free reign. we were not at anyone's beck and call. we managed to deliberate an deliver this by september 16 this year, on time to take part in the commemorations. >> what was your research like? >> very tricky, very difficult. there are so few documents you can turn to. there are maps of the area we were focusing on, the southern area, the harbor, that really was the beginning of plymouth
7:49 pm
tower and ultimately plymouth city. but the maps were not specific to 1620. they were either in the 16th century, the century before, or the century after. it was not clear what buildings had fallen into ruin, what level the street was. so it was a long series of many research studies. -- mini research studies. consulting with historical experts. martin read, one of our team, provided information that was valuable. unlike other historic projects, we did not experience trouble, but these heritage projects rely on a certain amount of interpretation. and when you only have scant resources to go by, then yes,
7:50 pm
you're never going to get it 100% right and there will always be controversy and criticism, but we did the best we could with the resources we had. >> tell us about your trip to plymouth, massachusetts? >> well, after we decided we were going to do the mayflower project, it seems sensible to me to try to find as much information as we could not just about the original mayflower, the mayflower ii. it was built in the village around the corner from plymouth, england, in 1957, and given to the united states as a gift. it was sailed across the atlantic in 1957, to commemorate the landing of the pilgrims. the mayflower ii has recently come out of the mystic seaport on the eastern coast, the domestic seaport on the eastern coast after a major multimillion dollar retrofit.
7:51 pm
i was able to go over to boston and massachusetts, and traveled to plymouth. i got a fantastic reception from the crew of mayflower ii. and the guys and gals who run plymouth plantation. and without that visit we would not be able to put together the detail that we have. so i spent time on the mayflower ii with a series of 360-degree panoramic cameras, trying to get as much information about the different decks as i could. we had one camera in the crows nest to get a nice view of the ship from above. i was taken to plymouth plantation, where they have a fantastic wardrobe. the assets and antiquities they have at this place, as well as plans relating to the original mayflower ii build and design. i came back with more photographs than you can imagine. and we have been using all of these photographs. they even gave us access to a
7:52 pm
fabulous laser scan, of the entire ship, that was taken when she was in the seaport. to be able to resolve the detail of the timbers and rigging, -- without the kind and generous donations of knowledges -- knowledge and images from plymouth plantation, we would a lot of problems. >> how do you translate this to the virtual world? >> we were able to take photos of actors and actresses on board performing duties of the crew. we could take those and use them to take our virtual humans, our avatars, and put them in relatively accurate dress and clothing, and get them doing things on board the ship or working around the harbor, that was one thing we could do.
7:53 pm
we would directly map from photographs of the people in plymouth, massachusetts, onto virtual humans. we were able to take pictures of the wooden beams. we can use the pictures to map onto our 3d models to make them look more realistic. we could use the 3d information. we have ways we can convert different forms of 3d information, for example for the laser scan. we would convert that into 3d and put in more detail. every piece of information gets used, nothing is wasted.
7:54 pm
>> how did you get examples of the town? >> the town and area of southern claw in plymouth, that was very difficult. we used a combination of resources. obviously the maps gave us some degree of confidence in the potential layout of that part of town in the 1620's. the buildings were predominantly medieval. that is fortunate, because there are some very good asset sites online, where you can buy medieval buildings. there are fairly basic. so we could use the 3d structure and take some photographs of older buildings. some of the type of buildings that exist in southern harbor today, and match those images, the brickwork, the blocks, and give them some degree of authenticity. a lot of interpretation, at a lot of advice from historians, to make sure we do not go over the top, was something that looked completely out of place were out of time.
7:55 pm
>> what was plymouth like in 1620? >> it was smelly. it was dirty. it was suffering from cholera. some of the water taken on board from plymouth onto the mayflower was probably cholera-infected. there is a story that they may have gone to a fishing town in cornwall for the sailed across the atlantic. the controversy, was plymouth the final departing point? some great rivalry in the part of the world. it was unsavory. a lot of ellie's taking a lot of gullies taking waste away. it would've been smelly and
7:56 pm
dirty. steam coming off the water. in general, not very nice. and a lot of trade. trade in fish, it was a huge fishing port. and wine, wool, coal was being delivered in plymouth from parts of england. treasure, from galleons that were attacked, and the on board treasures were taken. quite a hustling, bustling little town. but dirty and filthy nonetheless. >> what about the pilgrims? it would not have been familiar to the pilgrims. there were pilgrims from plymouth that joined the mayflower. but most of the pilgrims came from lincolnshire, and the north and east of plymouth, where the puritans, or saints, as they were called. of the102 passengers, 50% were
7:57 pm
pilgrims, and the other 50% were called strangers. so they were not particularly strong in terms of their rejection of james the first church of england. so the puritans came from places where they illegally set up a church of worship, before they went to holland. there were people from holland who would've come over and joined the ship, possibly at southhampton, possibly in london. plymouth would have been their final calling port. many stayed in buildings like ireland house, the accommodation, they were making arrangements for what to do with passengers aboard the speedwell. who were obviously not going to travel on the speedwell and some of them want back home, some went to holland, and someone got on the crowded mayflower. it would have been an unfamiliar and alien place from those people who came from a
7:58 pm
rural or country background. >> how long would they have been in england before they set sail? >> many years, many years. they had tried to escape england and james first once before but were captured and brought before the came and were chastised. then they managed to get away to london a few years and after that were people like william brewster, and william bradford, and other guys, who are very passionate. there were very staunch practitioners of the puritan faith. so they were allowed back into england, by james the first, who then gave them his blessing, to get them out of the country. he said they could go to the new world. they could go to the americas.
7:59 pm
providing i think he said, that they treated themselves respectably. they were in and out of england and then down to the ships. fortunately, not being chased or executed, by the king, but gently encouraged to go somewhere else. professor thank you so much. >> great great pleasure.
8:00 pm
boston red sox historian gordon needs leads a panel discussion on the teams home front and battlefield contributions during world war ii. through the stories of hall-of-famer, ted williams, and others they give it insight into the athletes training combat experience and perception when they return home. this event is hosted by the massachusetts historical society. they provided the video. >> today we have a great program, which will explore one of most pop


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on