Welsh town Monmouth to be world’s first ‘Wikipedia town’

18 May 2012

Gatehouse on Monnow Bridge, Monmouth Town. Image from Wikimedia Commons

From being the birthplace of King Henry V in 1387 to being a tech innovation hub for Wikipedia in 2012, the small town of Monmouth in Wales is set to become the world’s first Wikipedia town.

But what does this mean exactly? Well, from Saturday, people will be able to use their smartphones to scan QRpedia codes that have been placed at points of interest all over the town.

So Monmouth will be going live, Wikipedia-style, this Saturday. Right now there are more than 1,000 plaques that have been placed on public buildings in the town with QRpedia codes.

Wikipedia UK teamed up with Monmouthshire County Council to create the MonmouthpediA project, which took about six months to carry out.

And in a sweet turn of events for Monmouth’s population of around 9,000 people, Monmouthshire County Council has put free Wi-Fi in the town.

King Henry V was born in Monmouth

The town itself is in south-east Wales, around 3.2 kilometres from the border with England. Its origins date back to Roman times when it was the site of a small Roman fort called Blestium.

In 1067 the Normans built a castle in the town. The House of Lancaster later took over the castle. And legend has it that King Henry V was born above the gatehouse of Monmouth’s castle in 1386.

King Henry V. Painting by unknown artist. Painting is in the National Portrait Gallery, London

King Henry V painting by unknown artist. The original painting is held in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Henry was King of England from 1413 until his death in 1422 in Vincennes, France, at the age of 35. Henry features in three William Shakespeare plays

According to Monmouthshire County Council, the Wikipedia project is aiming to capture every notable place, person, flora and fauna that Monmouth has to offer.

Wikipedia said residents, businesses and volunteers in Monmouth have already created hundreds of new articles about the town. The aim is to make the town the first place in the world to offer tourist information in more than 205 languages.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said he was excited about the project.

“Bringing a whole town to life on Wikipedia is something new and is a testament to the forward-thinking people of Monmouth … I’m looking forward to seeing other towns and cities doing the same thing,” said Wales.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic