The skeleton of the new “The Hold” heritage centre and records office in Ipswich is now taking shape on the campus of the University of Suffolk. The framework of the building – which will hold most of the county’s records and also be a resource for historians and family history researchers – is now taking shape after the site was cleared last autumn.
The shape of the main part of the building, whose construction is being overseen by Concertus architects, can now be seen. It is being built by East Anglia civil engineering company RG Carter which has been keeping a photographic record of the work. The building should be filled out externally by the summer and is due to be handed over to Suffolk County Council at the start of next year.
The £20m project has been part-funded by a £10m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund with the rest of the money coming from the county council, university and other sources. As well as holding the county’s records, The Hold will also include a cafe, seminar rooms and a 200-seat auditorium that will be used for lectures or other public events.
Once it is opened, the county record office in Gatacre Road in Ipswich will be closed. Record offices in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds will remain open – although some of their more delicate artifacts could be transferred to the climate-controlled conditions at The Hold.
A spokeswoman for the county council said: “Progress has been very good on site, thanks to the relatively mild weather so far this winter. The groundworks and foundations are complete and substantial progress has also been made on the strongroom construction, where the archives will be stored, which will allow this area to start to dry out while the rest of the building is constructed. A substantial portion of the steel frame has been erected. The brickwork should begin before Easter. The groundworks included archaeological excavations, which unearthed some of the finest early post-medieval pottery found in the town to date, including imports from Germany and the Netherlands. This emphasises Ipswich’s status as an important, international merchant town.”
Credit: East Anglian Daily Times for this feature.