Plans for the new multi-million pound Staffordshire History Centre are available for the public to view for the first time.
The plans, including artist’s impressions and a 3D model of what the new centre could look like, are being revealed at events throughout September.
Along with a new community exhibition space, modern reading and search rooms and a packed programme of activities the centre will also have additional strong rooms, providing storage for an additional 25 years of future collections. The new £4m centre would be located on Eastgate Street in Stafford and will hold historical records and collections up to 1,000 years old.
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council explained that there was real energy and enthusiasm about the project and urged people to get along to one of the events. Gill said: “This is a really exciting time for our service and it’s great to be able to share the plans. We are all very proud of our history and heritage here in Staffordshire and our new centre would help to take archives out into local communities and get more people interested in history.”
The plans will be available to view at drop in sessions on 20 September, 1, 2pm to 6:30pm, and 21 September, 10am to 2pm at Staffordshire Place 1, Stafford.
Located between Eastgate Street and North Walls, the new Staffordshire History Centre would be incorporating the existing Records Office and the WSL building. Rare archives and museum pieces will be displayed in a state of the art exhibition space, and over six million records, documenting the lives of ordinary Staffordshire people will be available in the new centre and online. Records currently held at the Lichfield Record Office and the William Salt Library will be moved into the new centre and more records will continue to be made available online. A new local and family history access point will also be created in Lichfield Library where people will be able to access a range of digital collections.
The project is being delivered by Staffordshire County Council’s Archives and Heritage Service in partnership with the William Salt Library Trust.
Mithra Tonking, Chairman of the William Salt Library Trust, said: “We are delighted to be a major partner in this exciting development to provide a central research and learning point for Staffordshire¹s history. The project will also improve accessibility to and knowledge of the outstanding William Salt Library collection as well as securing the future of a significant and much loved listed building in Stafford.”
Funding of £333,400 for the development phase has already been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a Round II bid being submitted in March 2018. Work on the new centre could start as early as April 2019.
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: “It is great to see the plans for the new History Centre developing so swiftly. The project has the potential to bring the history of ordinary Staffordshire life to a large number of people, and we’re delighted that money from National Lottery players can help support it. We are looking forward to seeing the detailed proposals in due course”.
Further details on the project are available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/archives/ourvision where people can also sign up for the new e-newsletter. You can also view a video on plans for the new Staffordshire History Centre here.