Work starts on Brighton archive centre

Posted On 08 Oct 2011 at 7:19 pm

Work has started on the building that will house Brighton and Hove’s historic archives.

A ceremony was held on the site of The Keep in Woollard’s Field in Moulsecoomb to mark the start of work there yesterday (Friday 7 October).

The £19 million archive centre is a joint project between Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and Sussex University, which has its campus near by at Falmer.

It is due to open to the public in 2013.

The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Anne Meadows, and council leader Bill Randall attended the turf-cutting ceremony on behalf of the city council.

County council leader Peter Jones, university vice-chancellor Michael Farthing and Phil Durigan, managing director of the contractor Kier, were also present.

Councillor Randall said: “We’re really excited that The Keep is under way.

Outstanding

“It will be a wonderful resource for residents across Sussex, bringing so many archives together for the first time.

“It will provide an outstanding facility for people of all ages to enjoy and learn about our rich and colourful history.”

Councillor Tony Freebody, lead member for community services at the county council, said: “The Keep will be the new home for over 900 years of historical resources and collections of local, national and international importance.

“It will house over six miles of archives and when completed will be a wonderful resource for the people of East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.”

Professor Farthing said: “The Keep is an excellent collaboration – a purpose-built facility that will house the county’s valuable collections and the university’s own extraordinary archives and the combined expertise of county and university archivists for the benefit of the whole community.”

Earlier this year the two councils abandoned plans to transfer ownership of The Keep from the county council to the city council. Instead the city council will lease the site.

The new arrangement was approved by Councillor David Smith, the former Conservative cabinet member for culture, in April.

He told cabinet colleagues that the arrangement was intended to prevent the possibility of a legal challenge by anyone affected by the development.

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