New archive centre The Hold set to open for research this autumn

The Hold is now completed in Ipswich. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

The Hold is now completed in Ipswich. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

Researchers have been assured that they will be able to access historic records at Suffolk's new archive centre from this autumn.

The Ipswich branch of Suffolk Archives will open to the public at its new home in The Hold on Ipswich Waterfront from the beginning of September.

This will include the John Blatchly Local Studies Library and the invigilated searchroom.

There has been frustration among people researching local history and for documents in relation to family tree research since the move from Gatacre Road and because of the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Officials at The Hold on the University of Suffolk Campus on Fore Street say they too have been "disappointed" at the long closure but have now carried out a detailed review of how the building can open to researchers and keep them safe. 

A Suffolk Archives spokesperson said: "The appointment system and Covid-19 safety procedures in place at the Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft branches will also be implemented in Ipswich.

"Appointments in Ipswich will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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"Appointment bookings and document reservations will need to be made in advance and full details regarding how to do this will be made available on the Suffolk Archives website.

"We are proud that Suffolk Archives has received the VisitBritain Good To Go Mark in recognition of the processes we have implemented to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing in the effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"We are very sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment that such a long closure has meant for our customers and friends.

"The last fifteen months have been very challenging for us all and as a service we too are disappointed by the severe impact that the pandemic has had on our opening plans for The Hold.

"We sincerely hope that with the potential final changes to restrictions in the summer we will not have to alter our plans again. The Hold is such an exciting prospect for us as a service and we are really looking forward to the day that we can open the doors and welcome everyone in.

"However, we must also recognise that all the plans we make are in line with government guidance and, if required, may have to be revised."

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