In early 2020 we launched our VCH smartphone app, ‘A History of English Places’. It had been developed through a project funded internally by the University of London in 2014, and was produced in partnership with Aimer Media.
In 2023, Aimer Media was bought up by Class Media. Since then, it has become clear that there are challenges around the costs of technical support and the broader sustainability of the app.
We have made the difficult decision to retire the VCH smartphone app. It is no longer available for purchase from the Android or iOS app stores. We would like to thank everyone who has used the app over recent years.
I paid for a 12-month subscription to the app within the past year. What does this mean for me?
Most users of the app chose the fee-free version, but a smaller number of users have purchased the paid-for version. If you have the app installed on your phone or other mobile device, it should continue to work for now. However, it is unlikely you will be able to re-install it on a new phone or if you factory reset your phone. Phone software updates will eventually make it incompatible, as the app is not being maintained.
My main interest was looking at the historic OS map layer. Can I access that elsewhere?
The historic OS map layer on the VCH app was derived from the National Library of Scotland map collection. You can view the historic OS maps overlaid on modern maps for free on their website (though this is not a mobile-friendly resource and doesn’t include a geolocation function).
Is there another way to access the VCH content included in the app?
All the VCH content which was available on the app is freely available at British History Online (though this is not currently geo-located or searchable via a map).
Are there plans to make the VCH app available again in the future?
We’re not currently looking at an app, for reasons of cost and sustainability. But we are exploring options for making the app content available, free and open access, online. We retain all the data and database structures which we developed for the app, which we can repurpose in other digital contexts.
What if I’m not happy with this or want further information?
If you have a question or would like further information, please contact one of our VCH colleagues at the IHR, via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.