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George Orwell author backs campaign to save record office

PUBLISHED: 14:40 25 June 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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An author who chronicled the time of George Orwell’s time in Southwold has said the Lowestoft Record Office is an “essential resource.”

Ronald Binns, who wrote a highly acclaimed book about Orwell’s time on the Suffolk coast, has backed the Save Our Record Office (SORO) campaign and criticised any move to Ipswich.

The group was formed after proposals from Suffolk County Council emerged to shut the record office and move the existing archives to a new centre in Ipswich called The Hold.

The group presented a petition signed by more than 7,000 people at Suffolk County Council’s full council meeting last month and have been backed by local historians, councillors, and Time Team presenter Tony Robinson.

Mr Binns said: “Lowestoft Record Office is an essential resource for students of history in this part of Suffolk, and moving its archives to Ipswich would create obstacles that would surely deter some people from using them.

“In writing my book ‘Orwell in Southwold’ I found it very helpful to be able to use such an easily accessible local resource. I would not have wanted to make a series of visits to Ipswich.”

SORO will be holding a public meeting at Stella Maris Hall in Gordon Road, Lowestoft, on Thursday, July 5 at 7.30pm.

A spokesman for the group said anyone interested in finding out more about the group and the background to the proposed closure is invited to attend.

The meeting follows Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks’ promise to keep a facility in the town.

At an event in Lowestoft, Mr Hicks said: “The message is very clear from the residents of Lowestoft about where they feel the records office should be.

“Let’s look at the project, reach a solution, agree what is best for the community and best for Lowestoft and the wider area, and then we can come up with a plan of how we can look to fund it.”

However SORO chairman Bob Collis said: “A ‘facility’ is just a nondescript word. Five months after they announced the closure Suffolk County Council appear to have changed their tune but we are not going to roll over on the strength of a vague and ambiguous assurance like this.”


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