HISTORIC photographs are being used to shine a light on a town's unique heritage and give visitors the chance to compare the past and the present.

The Northallerton Heritage Trail traces a journey around some of the town's most interesting sites. Some have changed dramatically such as the town's railway station; the main council offices at County Hall have changed hardly at all from the front view, whereas the former Northallerton prison site has disappeared altogether.

Northallerton can be traced back to Roman times when it was the site of a military station, later it became a major flashpoint between the Scots and English with the bloody Battle of the Standard in 1138 when 12,000 were killed. A market town since 1200, and lying on the main route between Edinburgh and London it became an important stopping point for coaches until the railways arrived.

The railway however still plays a big part in the life of the town with direct trains to York and London, as well as a busy freight line, and one of the 13 stops on the town trail gives people the chance to see the station at it was in the 1950's.

Northallerton has been the county town since before North Yorkshire was created in 1974 and is the administrative centre for the region with the main headquarters for the county council and for Hambleton district council.

The mile long trail which takes people from the railway station through the High Street to All Saints Parish Church which dates back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, aims to help people navigate their way around to see what was here, what's preserved, and what is here now.

It's been developed in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council Archives and is available through their What Was Here app. It offers users the chance to explore the past through heritage trails brought to life via historic photographs and maps.

Elena Leyshon, a Graduate Trainee Archivist at the County Record Office in Northallerton, who compiled the trail, said: "Working on the Northallerton heritage trail has given me the opportunity to use our photographic collections here at the Record Office to explore how they document the continuity or change of some of Northallerton’s key locations across time. I really hope users will come away having learnt something new about the market town, and the places and points of history we often unknowingly walk past in our day-to-day lives."

Heritage trails in other North Yorkshire towns already feature on the app, including the Skipton and Harrogate trails created by North Yorkshire County Libraries.

Cllr Greg White, Executive Member for Customer Engagement, said: "The Northallerton What Was Here trail gives us the chance to reconnect with the places around us. An understanding of what lay here before us is integral to our sense of place and this allows users to discover new facts about the heritage of their local area."

The app is free to download via the Google Play Store and App Store, or through www.whatwashere.org