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First glimpse inside The Hold - the new building for Suffolk’s archives

PUBLISHED: 16:08 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:08 02 October 2020

The Hold at the University of Suffolk has opened its doors to the public. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The Hold at the University of Suffolk has opened its doors to the public. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

(C) Archant 2020

A new heritage centre which will tell the rich history of Suffolk - storing most of the county’s archives - has finally opened its doors.

The atrium at The Hold, University of Suffolk. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMANThe atrium at The Hold, University of Suffolk. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The Hold should have opened at Easter, but the final stages of construction were delayed by the coronavirus lockdown and the need to complete the work while observing social distancing.

MORE: Construction work on The Hold started in 2018

It has now opened its doors to the public and provides a “bridge” between the two sides of the University of Suffolk - the Waterfront and the Grimwade Street campus - as well bringing town and gown together by creating a space residents and students can share.

It has opened with an exhibition, showing how Suffolk has reacted to world events over the last century.

The Hold includes a cafe in the atrium. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMANThe Hold includes a cafe in the atrium. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

There are two entrances to The Hold, from the Waterfront and the campus car park – and has a central atrium running through the building, which includes a small shop and a coffee bar.

The historic archives are not yet ready to be moved in – the large storage room still needs to completely dry out before delicate manuscripts can be moved in safely.

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But other sections are ready for use – a very modern lecture theatre with capacity for 200 people and seminar rooms for up to 30 people.

Paul West and Tim Greenacre, with project managers Emily Shepardson and Kate Chantry inside The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMANPaul West and Tim Greenacre, with project managers Emily Shepardson and Kate Chantry inside The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

As well as being used for university studies, these will also be able to be hired out for conferences or business meetings.

At present, capacity is reduced because of the need for social distancing but, once restrictions are eased, these areas are expected to be very popular with organisations needing somewhere for meetings.

There is an exhibition space which will show off something different every three months. The first exhibition is “Global Events, Suffolk Stories” with newspaper cuttings, diaries and memorabilia showing how the county reacted to world events.

The Hold is a collaboration between the university and county council, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

MORE: Builders hand over The Hold to the county council and university

County cabinet member for Ipswich Paul West took his first look inside since it opened and said: “This will make our archives and heritage much more accessible to those interested in history.”

And university chief operating officer Tim Greenacre also welcomed the way the new building brought together its two sites, saying: “We are delighted to have this link both between our sites, and with the people of Ipswich and Suffolk.”


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