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Suffolk has now taken on The Hold in Ipswich – open to public in autumn

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 July 2020

The Hold Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Hold Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The Hold near Ipswich waterfront has formally been handed over to its new owners and Suffolk residents should have their first chance to see inside the £20m building when it stages its first exhibition in the autumn.

The Hold on the University of Suffolk campus.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Hold on the University of Suffolk campus. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

It is a joint venture by Suffolk County Council and the University of Suffolk. It combines a new headquarters for the county’s records office in Suffolk with new seminar rooms and a 200-seat lecture theatre which can be used by students or hired out for conferences.

Work on the project has been delayed because of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown – it should have been open to the public at Easter – but contractors have now completed the structure of the building and it is ready to be fitted out.

MORE: The Hold is topped out with Suffolk beer

Paul West outside The Hold Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPaul West outside The Hold Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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But it will not be until early next year that it is fully fitted out and all the records are transferred from Suffolk’s current record office at Gatacre Road in Ipswich.

Suffolk County Council cabinet member for Ipswich Paul West said: “It is taking longer because of the lockdown and there are logistical challenges with moving everything from Gatacre Road because staff have to observe social distancing rules and keep away from each other.

“There is also the issue of the strong room having to completely dry out before it is safe to move everything in there but we hope that will be fully completed during the first half of next year.”

In the meantime an exhibition showing off some of the treasures of the county’s collection is due to open in the autumn giving local people the first chance to see inside the building that received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £10m.

Tim Greenacre from the University of Suffolk said: “From our point of view it is a link between our buildings on the Waterfront and the Suffolk Business School on this side of the campus.

“We will be using the seminar rooms and the lecture theatre from the start of the new economic year – but it will also be a space to welcome the public. People will be able to book and access the seminar rooms and lecture theatre without going into the main university buildings.

“It will be at the heart of what should be an important conference centre – the first time that Ipswich has ever had anything like this and it should be good for the town.”


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