The Guardian: ‘England hath need of thee’: appeal to save Milton’s Paradise Lost cottage














All hell is breaking loose at Milton’s Cottage, with demonic takeovers, avenging angels and an epic battle between good and evil.

Get ready for some strange sightings as Milton’s Cottage launches a unique new augmented reality (AR) visitor experience – transforming one of the world’s oldest writers house museums through the use of new technology.

Milton came here during a previous pandemic – the Great Plague of 1665 – to complete his epic poem Paradise Lost. So it seems fitting that Milton’s Cottage have used the compulsory Covid-19 closures to create an entirely new take on his best-known work.

Published in 1667, Paradise Lost has never been out of print since and is the first illustrated poem in the English language. From Blake to Turner, Gustav Dore to Salvador Dali, many great artists have responded to Milton’s epic since the first illustrated edition was printed in 1688.

Now design team Daniele Baron, Mark Dodson and Dan Lusby are set to join this illustrious company with their immersive AR experience – introducing a demonic cast of characters, who will lead visitors on a voyage of discovery around Milton’s only surviving residence.

It’s an opportunity to discover Milton’s incredible story, uncover rare books and treasures from the museum’s collection, and unravel the magic of Milton’s Cottage through a family-friendly AR visitor experience that’s suitable for all ages.

The project has been funded through the AIM Biffa Award History Makers programme, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund. This has been set up to enable museums across the UK to create new exhibitions celebrating the extraordinary people who have shaped our history.

Lisa Ollerhead, Director of AIM, commented, “The purpose of the AIM Biffa Award History Makers programme is to inspire people through the lives and achievements of extraordinary historical figures. We’re pleased to support Milton’s Cottage in using technology to engage audiences with John Milton’s story in new and surprising ways.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, said: “It is amazing to see how new technology can work hand in hand with this important historical building to bring alive the life, times and works of poet John Milton, a man who was an inspiration to generations of authors. It is a privilege for Biffa Award to be able to support this remarkable project through the AIM Biffa Award History Makers Programme.”

John Dugdale Bradley, Trustee of Milton’s Cottage, said: “Milton has inspired many of our best-loved authors, including childhood favourites such as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman. This game-changing project will engage a new generation with Milton’s legacy – bringing our collection of rare books and treasures to life and showcasing Milton’s Cottage as a place where stories and storytelling continue to live.”

For further information and images please contact Kelly O’Reilly, Business Director, on:

T: 01494 872313; E:


Notes to editors

Biffa Award: since 1997, Biffa Award has awarded grants totalling more than £180 million to thousands of worthwhile community and environmental projects across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The programme administers money donated by Biffa Group Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Landfill Communities Fund: the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is an innovative tax credit scheme enabling operators (LOs) to contribute money to organisations enrolled with ENTRUST as Environmental Bodies (EBs). EBs use this funding for a wide range of community and environmental projects in the vicinity of landfill sites. LOs are able to claim a credit (currently 4.2%) against their landfill tax liability for 90% of the contributions they make. Since its inception in 1996, over £1.6 billion has been spent on more than 56,000 projects across the UK. For further information please visit or see HMRC’s guide to landfill tax.

AIM Biffa Award History Makers: through the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), Biffa Award gives grants to museums, galleries and cultural facilities so that they can tell the stories of historical figures through the History Makers Scheme.

AIM: this national charity helps independent and independently spirited museums, galleries and heritage sites prosper by connecting, supporting and representing them.

AR Development Team: the Milton’s Cottage AR project is delivered by the following collective:
Lead Developer: Mark Dodson from Spot Design –
Lead Designer: Dan Lusby –
Digital Producer: Daniele Baron from DB Interactive –


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Milton Messenger