First glimpse inside The Hold - the new building for Suffolk’s archives
PUBLISHED: 16:08 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:08 02 October 2020
(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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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