A £500,000 grant to help create a heritage centre for Suffolk Records Office in Ipswich will also benefit its Bury St Edmunds branch.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has given development funding of £538,100 to help Suffolk County Council progress its plans to apply for a full grant of £10.3m for the heritage centre on University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich.
The idea is that the new building will enable them to better care for and display the county archives. It will also have an exhibition facility to allow it to show items from the archive and display the work of community groups based on its records.
The the Records Office’s heritage project manager Amy Rushton said the Bury Records Office in Raingate Street will also gain new facilities from the project.
She explained: “At the Bury branch we have the main office in the lovely listed building but it also has a little out store down by the River Linnet.
“It’s an old mobile library garage, in the flood plain of the Linnet, and houses 80 cubic metres of archive materials. We’ll be moving that stuff out of there.”
The plan is that the new Heritage Centre will free up space in the Bury branch allowing the material from the out store to be moved to a safer location and to be catalogued and digitised.
“We’ll make sure what’s there is what Bury-based customers want to see the most regularly,” she said. “Bury is a branch that’s really popular for learning outreach and all that will continue.”
The digitisation is part of a project to make more materials available online, with a new website opening next month, allowing people to explore and use the records online.