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Historian calls for large archive collection to remain in town

PUBLISHED: 17:34 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:34 31 July 2018

Ian Robb outside the Town Hall in Lowestoft.  Picture: James Bass

Ian Robb outside the Town Hall in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

An author and historian who has written a dozen books about Lowestoft has appealed for help in finding a suitable home for his archives.

Ian Robb, 71, born and bred in Lowestoft, is a passionate advocate of the area’s social history, and over the years has amassed a substantial archive of photos, records and books.

Mr Robb, who is seriously ill, has worked with the Jack Rose Old Lowestoft Society and is a member of the Save Our Record Office campaign group and now is appealing for a suitable home for his collection.

Among the many fascinating and varied records, the collection includes photos of Benjamin Britten’s family members, photos and negatives of Lowestoft’s historic fishing boats, and research into one of the architects of New York’s Grand Central station.

He said: “I used to rescue prints and negatives and when I started to write in 1984 I acquired a massive great archive of books, prints and maps.”

Mr Robb has made clear in his will that his records should remain in Lowestoft, with the destination prior to its proposed closure to be the Lowestoft Record Office.

However, under the current proposals if the archives were to be donated to the record office they would be earmarked to be moved to Ipswich, something which Mr Robb does not want to happen.

He said: “I would like them to be in a record office in Lowestoft, fully employed and manned. Lowestoft has done me well and I want my archive to stay in Lowestoft.

“I am trying to fight against the loss of history because people like myself and the generation following, once we are gone it is a different ball game because a lot of history will be gone.”

He added: “I would like to see it saved for the town. I want to pay something back into the town and say thank you to the town.

“It is really important for the archives to stay here because if everything goes down to Ipswich they will not know what the heck they have got.

“If there is a chance for this material to go to a home, even if it is temporary, as long as it is in Lowestoft and preferably with people who know how to work with archives, that is what I want.”

Anyone able to help Mr Robb is asked to contact the Lowestoft Journal by calling 01502 525834 or emailing lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk.

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