TOURISTS will be able to tune in to Southampton's history as part of a "street radio" scheme to be launched next week.

Ten radio transmitters are being set up along a heritage trail for visitors to listen to stories from the city's world renowned Oral History Unit.

Anyone with an FM radio receiver will be able to tap into the byte-sized stories.

Civic chiefs are hailing the scheme as a "revolutionary new concept" and it comes after the Daily Echo revealed city council plans to create Wi-Fi zones for high-speed Internet access across the city through the installation of new lampposts. They could also incorporate hi-tech cameras.

The always-on street radio transmitters, or "nodes", will be linked to form a walk through the city's changing life and times.

The walk will begin in the city's proposed cultural quarter in Above Bar, near the Civic Centre.

"Hidden Histories makes accessible some of the highs and lows of Southampton's 20th century history - the glory of great ships and journeys as well as the disasters and long forgotten tales," said the council's arts and heritage manager Janet Owen.

Cabinet member for leisure and neighbourhoods, Derek Burke, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy Southampton's history in a new and stimulating way."

The project is a partnership between Solent Centre for Architecture and Design, London-based media art outfit Hive Networks, artist Armin Medosch and the city council's Oral History Unit, which has been recording life stories told by residents for more than 20 years.

Street Radio will be launched on Friday in the run up to Southampton ShowsOff, a weekend showcase of the city's creativity, talent and culture.

Route maps and radio units will be available for hire from the Tourist Information Centre.

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