WATCH: Suffolk shows off The Hold in Ipswich – new home for county archive
- Credit: Archant
Work to prepare for construction work on a new record office and heritage centre for Ipswich is nearing completion.
The new £20m heritage centre, called The Hold, is going up on the University of Suffolk campus opposite the main Waterfront building – largely thanks to a £10m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
On Friday officials from Suffolk County Council, the records office, the HLF, and project managers Concertus visited the site to see progress.
The building is due to start going up next year – and should start to be recognisable by the summer. It should be more or less complete by the start of 2020, but there will then need to be time for the atmosphere to be cleaned to allow the safe storage of delicate archives which will then have to be moved in from the current records office in Gatacre Road in Ipswich. The Hold is expected to open to the public by Easter 2020.
Kate Chantry, from the Suffolk Record Office, emphasised that the opening of The Hold would not mean the end of the service in other parts of the county – there has been a concern that the new building could reduce access to the Lowestoft Records Office.
She said: “We will be moving some of the more delicate items from Lowestoft to the new secure rooms here, but we are digitising many of the records and they will only be available in digital form whether you come here or to one of our other offices because they are delicate.
“This will improve accessibility – it will be much more welcoming to people. They will be able to come in and use the service without booking in advance.”
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There would still be records held at other offices – and overall accessibility for everyone would be improved.
Annette Thompson, from project managers Concertus, said the new building would encourage people to pass through it, use the cafe or the seminar rooms – and it would also have a 200-seat auditorium for lectures or other events.
Robyn Llewellyn, from the HLF, said: “County record offices are a real treasure trove and here we have records going back almost 900 years. This is about making that heritage safe and accessible.”
Suffolk cabinet member Paul West added: “The Hold is more than just a new building. It is a county wide project to engage more people in learning about the rich past of Suffolk.
“By taking archive related projects into the community we will raise the profile of the county with all generations.”