Lowestoft Archives to reopen with family event
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Visitors are being encouraged to attend a family event at a 'refreshed and remodelled' venue this weekend.
Lowestoft Archives - formerly Lowestoft Record Office - will host an event this Saturday, February 29 in conjunction with Lowestoft Library.
With the searchroom at Lowestoft Archives having been "refreshed and remodelled to offer a brighter, more visitor friendly and flexible space," according to Suffolk County Council, the aim is to enable more people to engage with Suffolk's history.
But a campaign group has hit out at the removal of historic local archives to the £20m The Hold, which is likely to open in Ipswich in the spring.
For the past two years members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group in Lowestoft have been campaigning against changes to the future of the Suffolk Record Office service in town.
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With Suffolk County Council (SCC) carrying out refurbishments last month to the former record office, located on the first floor at Lowestoft Library, it meant the facility has been closed for a month.
This Saturday's drop-in event, entitled 'Destination Lowestoft', will celebrate tourism in Lowestoft throughout history with people given the opportunity to experience the refurbished venue, which now includes an audio-visual and exhibition space, as well as new interpretation display areas.
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Paul West, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for heritage, said: "I am really looking forward to sharing the refurbished Lowestoft Archives space with visitors.
"We are confident that the new set up will enable us to share Lowestoft's rich and varied history more easily with people from all walks of life."
However, chairman of the SORO group, Bob Collis said: "They have been planning this behind the scenes and they have factored in the cost of the decant (archival transfer) with the Heritage Lottery Fund bid.
"No amount of interactive fun and games for kids is going to make up for the fact they are tearing the archival heart out of Lowestoft."
The group also slammed the lack of courses and talks being held in Lowestoft by the Suffolk Archives service. Between January and July this year, 16 events have been scheduled for Bury St Edmunds with one in Ipswich but none in Lowestoft.
Mr Collis added: "It makes a mockery of the 'county-wide benefits' claim of this Lottery-funded project."
This Saturday's drop-in 'Destination Lowestoft' event will see a treasure trail in operation around both the archives and the library, as well as badge-making and colouring.
Working with colleagues from Lowestoft Library, Suffolk Archives will host children's activities from 10.20am to 12.30pm on Saturday.
Following the event, Lowestoft Archives will reopen on Tuesday, March 3 and will be open from 10am to 3pm each Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The space will be used to run events and activities with groups such as visiting schools on Mondays and Wednesdays when it is closed to the public.
The county council said Lowestoft Archives will offer a wealth of material for people to discover, such as books, microform, maps and transcripts; items which have proven particularly popular for those carrying out research into local and family history.