BOSSES behind a £3.1 million refurbishment of a historic Southampton building have given a sneak preview into a new exhibition set to be hosted at the new arts venue.

New heritage experience ‘Stories Behind the Stones’ is set to take place at the newly refurbished God’s House Tower.

It will tell the story of the medieval Platform Quay gatehouse at Town Quay.

Complete with gruesome details of Southampton’s last hanging, the sorry lives of 18th century prisoners and a whole floor dedicated to gunners and weapons, the exhibition features specially commissioned animations, cutting edge technology and artistic installations.

Created by award-winning museum designers who have drawn on years of specialist research by Southampton historians, the interpretations are a bid to unearth centuries-old secrets when GHT opens in just a few weeks’ time.

Now arts experts at ‘a space', who are behind the refurbishment, say they are ready to share plans for the “immersive and emotive” exhibition.

On the ground floor projections take the visitor through the turbulent waters of Southampton in 1338, when the city was sacked in a devastating French raid - using Ken Hellyar’s 1980 model of Southampton’s Old Town as a focal point.

The first floor will be dedicated to gunners - who were highly paid and integral to the city’s 16th century defence strategy.

Animated tapestries will tell the life stories of four southampton gunners, including peter breme, whose job was also to paint the original wooden Bargate lions.

The second floor will tell how prisoners were held at GHT when it was an 18th century gaol - names and crimes etched into free-standing wooden doors around the room.

And in a particularly haunting exhibit a 3D printed model of the last man to be hanged in Southampton will be displayed. William Shawyer spent his last night at GHT in July 1785 before being hanged on the Common, for stealing from his employer.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the rooftop views from the top of the Tower as well as timelines of historic ships, and a panel illustrating Southampton as it was in 1620.

Cutting edge virtual reality headsets will give full 360 degree tours of each room in the Tower for visitors who aren’t able to use the stairs.

Interpretation designer Zara McKenzie, from London firm HKD, said the creative team did not want to shy away from the building’s gruesome history and said: “It’s a bit dark.

“We haven’t used big installations, we have used the nooks and crannies - we are trying to let the building be visible without being overpowering.

“It’s been a brilliant project to work on and a lovely collaborative process.

“Because Dan [Crow, director of ‘a space’ arts] is coming from an arts background he is less risk averse, thinks creatively and wanted something different.”

Historian Dr Cheryl Butler, whose expertise on Southampton’s history has informed the exhibition, said: “It has been hugely rewarding to help with setting the historic context of God’s House Tower and to see how artists and animators have responded to the history with such creative flair.”

Dan Crow said: “I’m excited about the stage we are at - it has taken seven years to get here. But the really exciting bit hasn’t happened yet.”

God’s House Tower is set to open in November.