Work starts on The Hold records office near university campus
PUBLISHED: 19:00 03 October 2018
Work to create The Hold heritage centre in the heart of Ipswich is now well under way – with heavy piling due to start on the site later this month.
The new building, on the University of Suffolk site near the town’s Waterfront, started in August as derelict buildings were swept away to allow the new construction.
The heavy work creating deep foundations will be a prelude to starting work on what will be The Hold’s strongrooms, used to keep some of the most important and rarest documents covering Suffolk’s history.
The site of the new development is now clear to people visiting that part of town – with visual displays showing The Hold on safety boards around the site.
The new £20million heritage centre will bring together the Suffolk records office and also provide study and lecture facilities as well as a cafe.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has contributed £10.8m to the project, while the county council has put in £5m capital funding and the University of Suffolk £1m.
Funding has also come from other sources. The centre is due to open to the public in early 2020.
Its development has not been without controversy – one of the conditions of the HLF grant was that all Suffolk’s records should be brought together in the secure building, and there has been opposition in Lowestoft to the closure of its records office.
And the Ipswich Society criticised the design of the development because they said it was not good enough for such an important centre.
The building work is being carried out by local builders R G Carter.
In the meantime, the county council has launched the first project from the countywide activity plan for ‘The Hold: A Suffolk Archives Service for the 21st Century.
“Land and Shore” is the first project from the ‘Sharing Suffolk Stories’ programme, and began with an event at Ness Point in Lowestoft in August.
Over a 12-month period or more, three groups of participants will be supported to research the stories of three distinct lost” communities in east Suffolk: Dunwich, Alton Water and The Beach Village of Lowestoft.