Interactive Environments: Paragon Project – Research

So I decided to focus more on the historical background information occurring around 1914 as I saw the rest of the group focusing more on the architectural history of the area and historical accuracy of events, and I didn’t see the need for repeating research unnecessarily.

Herbert Henry Asquith (Prime Minister 1908-1916)

H.H Asquith was the war-time Prime Minister throughout the time period we are looking at. The primary reason i’m including him within this research is because of the effect a political leader can have on the landscape of the country. In 1905, years before taking office he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer of which he introduced a higher tax on unearned income, of which helped the pave the way for pensions for the over 70. He was also a strong supporter of free trade.

All of this would suggest his good standing with the citizens of the country, barring any local social issues that wouldn’t be accounted for from these research sources. This presents the opportunity, when approaching the Paragon Project, to portray life in a more positive outlook. Even though the project is about centenary commemorations for World War 1, the sheer social aspect of having a Prime Minister moderately in touch with the needs of the people.

Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU)

With H.H Asquith’s Liberal Party in power, the WSPU, a union forged from suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903 seeking a greater commitment to women’s political rights across the country, sought Asquith to do as liberalism would suggest and to push for political reform. When this didn’t happen, this led to militancy and protests.

The reason I’ve included this is because as sourced here and here, there’s indication that the WSPU had representation in Hull, in 1914 and prior. Mary Gawthorpe and Nellie Mortel (notable Suffragettes) doing just that. It’s common knowledge, that the WSPU postponed their protests against their lack of rights when war broke out, so it would be interesting to see a representation of this within the level at some point to show a scripted sequence of representatives of the WSPU ceasing militant action against those who opposed them.

Conscientious Objectors

A crowd of conscientious objectors to military service during the first world war at a special prison camp

Those of which when it came to the beginning of World War 1, simply did not want to fight. Either for religious reasons or simply believing in pacifism, most refused to participate. The sparked the forming of the ‘Organisation of the White Feather’ of which those that abstained from participating were branded as ‘cowards’ and forced to wear a white feather, as a way of public peer pressure to make them want to join the war effort.

I though it would be an interesting detail to add to the level to distinguish those within it that were simply not taking part in the war and how that would effect the social aspect and feel of the level, with the dissension between the women and children and those males who chose not to fight.

References 2013. BBC Radio 4 – Woman’s Hour – Women’s History Timeline: 1910 – 1919. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

Beckett, F. 2008. The men who would not fight. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2009. First World – Encyclopedia – White Feathers. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

Google Books. 2013. Women of the Right Spirit. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. History of Herbert Henry Asquith – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. Women’s Social and Political Union. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. Conscientious Objectors. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. Hull’s First GP and Suffragist – Hull Museums Collections. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].


Interactive Environments: Client Project – Paragon Station

Part of this module, as a collective, we were tasked with an ongoing project that would in turn extend onto the second semester as a Client Project where an external client will be in play, dictating changes and preferences, etc. The particular task, was to recreate Paragon Station in Hull but in its 1914 form (commemorating a 100 years since the beginning of World War I), using research from around that time to ensure its (near) authenticity, although for things we didn’t know or couldn’t find, we had creative license to ‘imagine’ what they would be like. The catch here was, as the train station was host to soldiers leaving for war, they had to be depicted within the level and thus a distinct timeline would need to be created in order for them to be accurately portrayed.

Naturally, the instinct of everyone within the group was to decide on the parameters of the level and what we would include. After a while, we collectively decided on focusing research efforts on 4 main directions; Inside Paragon Station, The external side of Paragon Station, Anlaby Road and Brook Street. Those directions divided the group up equally into research teams, of which I ended up on the Anlaby Road ‘team’.

Since we doubted Anlaby Road would look as similar to what it is now, we decided to scour the internet primarily as a research source, in an attempt to get a better perception of how things looked. I tended to vear off and attempted looking into background information in terms of economic and social issues arising, around 1914 that would have affected the mood and overall morale of the people. There was little in the way of credible Anlaby Road research on the internet, probably because those with the information were preparing to release books on the matter in the same fashion as this project, but we did manage to find this website however: The Anlaby Road and various ‘near’ to date maps (of which will be shown in posts following this). There were plans in motion to get the author of the website, Paul Gibson, to come in for a discussion on the area in 1914, but those plans never came into fruition.

We do have a Wikia available for short snippets of research information (aptly titled Project Paragon), but at present the design and management of it has become convoluted to the point of which, a good portion of the collective group does not know what is needed to be on there, and it has taken a backseat in terms of priority outlets for research, development and information collation.

‘The Street’ – Research (1)

A High Street is typically referred to as a main street in a town/city that accommodates for retail. Greater examples of this in Hull, would be ones such as; Holderness Road, Whitefriargate and Prospect Street. These boast the greater amounts of retail representation in the city and are directly within the retail centric areas of the city.

The aim of this project is to look at a street that could be classified as a ‘High Street’ and assess its values in preparation for interpretation. That being, an observational drawing of the street, looking at the environment and seeing how it could be useful to utilize in environment design. I decided to look more locally on the Eastern side of the city to where i live. The Ings Road/Sutton House Road Area in particular, may not essentially be classified as a ‘High Street’, but it pertains to the retail aspect that promotes through traffic within the area. I walk past this small community of retail outlets every single day that i venture to the Bus Stop to travel to University and i thought it a quite distinct area. The reasoning behind this, is because throughout the day it sees an abundance of traffic from predominantly school children that attend the local educational facilities in the area and at night becomes home to some of the more increasingly unsavoury characters. An example of an event that happened many years ago linked: here. And so, the area is generally a mix between well kept and susceptible to the occasional vandalistic act. It doesn’t seem as if the area has much evolutionary potential, seeing as it’s surrounded by a predominate residential area, expansion would depend on acquisition of property in the surrounding area and the size of the buildings architecturally speaking wouldn’t be able to elevate higher than regular residential properties because of the need for city council permission. Ownership of the stores in question has fluctuated over the years and has seen the area go through some change, whether this be attributed to the recession is a matter i know little about as i don’t know the establishment owners personally.


To kick things off, here’s a Google Maps overview of the area. Obviously i didn’t take this, i’m not that tall.

First round snaps: (Because i’m such a professional photographer)



Photo 2013-03-13 09.19.40

Allow me to point this building out in particular, it’s probably the only building within the area that’s undergone a more extensive renovation to the point of which the old residential aspect of the building has effectively been removed.

Photo 2013-03-13 09.20.03

Photo 2013-03-13 09.20.21

Photo 2013-03-13 09.21.06

Photo 2013-03-20 08.33.49

Photo 2013-03-20 08.34.15

List of outlets;

  • Lloyds TSB (Bank)
  • Sainsbury’s Local
  • Chinese Takeaway (Chopstick House)
  • Moorfields (Butchers)
  • Post Office
  • Delicatessen
  • Nail Salon
  • The Flower Shop
  • Fish and Chip Shop (Sue Downs)
  • Takeaway Establishment (Arizona)
  • Local store (O-So-Fresh)
  • Male Hair Salon (Designer Gents)
  • Local off-license
  • Hair Salon (Affinity Hair Spa)
  • Additionally is a Bus Stop located near to the area

Possible Environmental Gameplay Elements

  • Open-able windows on the exterior side of a majority of the second floor windows within the area. These could be used for various things, such as giving interactive access to the buildings through methods such as; Parkour. Or could be used for escape attempts from the buildings, if the gameplay events required so.
  • Seeing as it’s surrounded by residential areas, there are several amounts of getaway routes, alleyways and roads to cross. As it’s has a large exterior crossroads in the center of the area, it could also be manipulated further for expansion. With things such as; navigational blocks that could point the player in a specific route without giving off too much of an aesthetic warning that they’re present.
  • Plenty of cars in the area could provide for a suitable supplement for cover-based gameplay. Perhaps utilizing the bank to simulate a observable bank heist? – Thus hiding behind cars to avoid the perpetrators whilst waiting for police. The area certainly is malleable in terms of gameplay, and isn’t particularly restricted to a parallel setting that most streets are confined to.
  • The amount of roads present, would require a procedural traffic simulation to simulate the fluctuations in traffic throughout the day. Grand Theft Auto carries a more prominent example of this of how they simulate an entire in-game day within an hour, the traffic thus reflects this and deviates between sparse and congested traffic.
  • There are a couple of the shops that utilize canopies. In terms of the environment, it’d be notable to see how they’d shade individuals and cast specific shadows throughout the day.


What is The High Street? What Do British People Mean When They Say High Street Shops?. 2013. What is The High Street? What Do British People Mean When They Say High Street Shops?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2013].

high street – definition of high street by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.. 2013. high street – definition of high street by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2013].