People will be able to get up-close with Staffordshire’s extensive archives collections in a single, modern centre, if a revised bid for funding submitted to The National Lottery Heritage Fund is successful.
Revised plans for the Staffordshire History Centre project would see a new extension to Staffordshire Record Office on Eastgate Street in Stafford bringing together three separate collections and services.
As well as additional strong rooms and modern reading space, the project will incorporate the William Salt Library and would also see an exciting programme of activities and collections taken out into local communities. Rare archives, books and museum pieces would also be displayed in a dedicated exhibition space, and over six million records, documenting the lives of ordinary Staffordshire people will be available in the new centre and online.
The go-ahead to make an application for funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is set to be approved at a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 15 May
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:
“We have a fascinating history here in Staffordshire and our collections are of outstanding quality and importance. We are extremely proud to be custodians of such invaluable items and want to be able to protect them for future generations to enjoy.
“If our new bid for funding for the project is successful, it will provide new ways in which collections can be used by individuals, historians and communities and will secure access to historic collections for the next twenty years.”
Work by the Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service to get more records online and to take more collections and exhibitions out to local communities will continue and some funding has been secured for this.
This includes securing matched funding to catalogue Lichfield ecclesiastical court records known as the ‘Bawdy Courts’ with a grant from the Archives Revealed programme.
A separate project called ‘A Case for the Ordinary’, will also help to make the historic county asylum records more accessible and deliver an exhibition on mental health. These projects have already started and will be looking for volunteers to get involved.