New Suffolk archive centre begins construction

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Construction of The Hold is well underway, with groundworks, piling, and foundations taking place in this phase of construction.

The Hold will deliver a new home for the majority of Suffolk’s unique archival collections, as well as state-of-the-art public facilities and teaching spaces for the University of Suffolk.

The building, which will be situated near the junction of Fore Street and Grimwade Street, will be part of the University of Suffolk campus and will be run by the county and the university together.

Work began on The Hold’s construction in August, with the demolition of a derelict building at the northern end of the site. The construction will focus on the strongrooms first, where the archives will be kept. The building will formally open to the public in Spring 2020.

Earlier this year, New Anglia LEP awarded The Hold £250,000 from the Growing Places Fund.

Doug Field, Chair of New Anglia LEP, said: “This project will bring together Suffolk’s archives under one roof enabling people to explore and discover 900 years of the county’s history and stories. Once finished, more than 100 direct and indirect full-time jobs will be created as well as training and apprenticeships. With new state of the art facilities, including seminar rooms and a 200 seat auditorium, it will be a great addition to Ipswich and the Waterfront area.”

The Hold has also been awarded a £414,763 grant through the Coastal Communities Fund, to deliver a “comprehensive, year round heritage activity and events programme to develop new audiences to visit Ipswich Waterfront”.

Coastal Communities and Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP, said: “It’s fantastic to see money from the Coastal Communities Fund help kick start the build of The Hold on the Ipswich waterfront. Investment in our seaside areas, through projects such as this Heritage Activity and Events Programme, will help us to unlock the barriers to development and growth in our coastal communities, helping to create thousands of jobs, training places and opportunities along the shore.”

Cllr Paul West, Suffolk County Council Portfolio Holder for Heritage, said: “It’s exciting to see that construction is well underway for The Hold building. The building will completely transform our ability to care for and showcase our county’s records and collections meaning more people than ever before will be able to connect with Suffolk’s unique and fascinating history.

“We are also thrilled that as work has started on construction, we have launched our ambitious programme of heritage activities right across the county, bringing Suffolk’s history to life for new audiences. The programme launched last month with the Land & Shore Heritage project, part of Sharing Suffolk Stories.”

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