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Anger over 'blockbuster' exhibitions in Ipswich containing Lowestoft heritage

PUBLISHED: 16:59 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 20 July 2018

Members of the Save Our Record Office group. Picture: Save Our Record Office

Members of the Save Our Record Office group. Picture: Save Our Record Office

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A campaign group has hit out against potential plans to charge visitors to exhibitions at the new home for Suffolk Archives which would include records from Lowestoft.

The criticism surrounds plans to hold ‘Blockbuster’ exhibitions in the building in Ipswich called The Hold where people could be charged as much as £10 for a ticket.

The exhibitions could include nationally significant collections, including the Port of Lowestoft Research Society’s archive, currently on loan at the Lowestoft Record Office.

The decision to close the record office next year has come under fierce criticism from the group Save Our Record Office since it was announced in January.

Chairman Bob Collis said: “It just goes to show the sheer disdain, the arrogance and the contempt Suffolk Archives have towards the people of Lowestoft and Waveney.

“Not satisfied with stripping our town of its unique archives, they want to use them to draw tourists to Ipswich.

“Come to Ipswich and learn about the history of Lowestoft - is this to be the fate planned for our archives?”

He added: “It is the most shocking and outrageous insult to the people of north east Suffolk since the decision to close the record office was announced on January 10.”

The details of the exhibitions came from a draft business plan for Suffolk County Council which proposed different ways to produce for The Hold, and also included details of conference, educational, and catering income at the building.

Paul West, portfolio holder for heritage, said: “Exhibitions are a fantastic means of sharing stories from the archives with a wider audience and ‘The Hold: A Suffolk Archives Service for the 21st Century’ includes plans for an annual, rolling programme of free admission exhibitions which will visit locations right across the county, including the Record Office buildings in Lowestoft, Bury and Ipswich.

“The Annual Blockbuster exhibition will form one part of the annual rolling programme.

“The content of the ‘Blockbuster’ exhibitions will evolve over the years but they are likely to feature internationally significant items pertaining to all areas of Suffolk.

“All other exhibitions which form part of the programme will be free to view.”

The decision to close Lowestoft Record Office will be put to a joint scrutiny committee of Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council members following council meetings this week.

It is understood these meetings will be used to examine the decision making process behind closing the record office and to possibly recommend the postponement of its closure.

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