Home > Records Storage > £8.2 million Carlisle archive centre to open for business today

£8.2 million Carlisle archive centre to open for business today

By James Johnson, News & Star

It has taken nine years and £8.2 million but the landmark new archive centre in Carlisle will finally open its doors today.

The Petteril Bank building was funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – the largest the county has seen – and been transformed from the formerly run-down Georgian Grade II listed Lady Gillford’s house into a modern glass-fronted window.

The hi-tech facility means Cumbria’s archives are housed in a temperature and humidity-controlled strongroom, which releases inert gas instead of water in the event of a fire, so more than a million historical documents are not damaged.

Photographs and modern media are stored in an even cooler strong room which has moving shelves, and the capacity to store another 25 years of projected growth.

Anne Rowe, archive services manager at the facility, said: “People can come and study the archives now – it’s a very special area of work.

“The old area at the castle wasn’t very accessible, so we have moved over three miles of archives here.

“Being able to restore the building was exciting, and now the archives are available for anyone who has got an interest in history, whether that be personal or academical.”

The new centre, on Petteril Bank Road, features a public exhibition of films from the North West Film Archive in Manchester. Four viewing screens feature films from Cumbria’s past and historic footage of places in the county such as the Lake District, Eden Valley, Carlisle, and coastal areas.

Gary Strong, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for archives and libraries, said: “I’ve been here a few times during the construction, and every time I come there’s something new.

“It’s a special new building with extra storage space – it’s wonderful.”

As well as storing archives, the council are applying for a license to be able to hold weddings, and if all goes to plan they will be able to hold ceremonies before the end of the year.

Isabel Rostron, who helped move the archives from their old site at Carlisle Castle, said: “Originally I started looking through family history at the castle, and then I saw they were looking for volunteers so I decided to help.

“I have to say overall they’ve done a really good job – I wasn’t expecting it to be this impressive.”

The centre opens to the public today.

Source: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/

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