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Artists' impression of how the Stafford History centre will look from Eastgate Street, Stafford

Round two National Lottery funding bid for history centre to be submitted

Staffordshire could be home to a brand new £3.9m modern history centre, if a new round two bid for funding submitted to The National Lottery Heritage Fund is successful.

The project has been given initial support and has been awarded £36,000 development funding to develop the project plans and apply for a full National Lottery grant of £3,964,000 at a later date.

The proposals for the Staffordshire History Centre project would see an extension to the existing Staffordshire Record Office on Eastgate Street in Stafford incorporating the William Salt Library.

The new centre would bring together the county’s extensive archives collections in one modern centre with additional strong rooms, reading areas, and research labs. Rare archives, books and museum pieces would all be displayed in a dedicated exhibition space, with activities and collections taken out into local communities.

Staffordshire County Council expects to make the application for funding in 2020.

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council explained that the team were delighted with the opportunity to make a round two application. Gill said:

“We’re incredibly proud of our fascinating history here in Staffordshire with some amazing collections, and we want to share them and be able to protect them for future generations to enjoy.

“Not only will the new centre create an exciting visitor experience for everyone in Staffordshire but it will transform the way people interact with our services. Our schedule of activities and exhibitions will also allow us to take more of our collections out to local communities and schools which will help get many more people excited about our history.”

Gill added:

“Only last month we were allocated the archives for the Pagets family, Marquesses of Anglesey which is great news. This is a fascinating collection of archives and includes important medieval manuscripts and the estate papers of the family.”

The Staffordshire History Centre 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 trust, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to develop this project which will preserve both the unique William Salt Library collection and ensure the long term future of the grade II listed building. We’re looking forward to working with Staffordshire County Council on this exciting project”.

The total cost of the project is £5.9m with an application for £3.9m being made to The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Match funding of £2m is also being raised by the partnership including grants, donations from local organisations and Friends, and in-kind contributions from volunteers.

Further details on the project are available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives/Staffordshire-History-Centre.aspx