'We will never forget this': Anger at controversial archives move

Bob Collis (left) and Andy Pearce of the SORO group look on as the controversial archives decant continued at Lowestoft.

Bob Collis (left) and Andy Pearce of the SORO group look on as the controversial archives decant continued at Lowestoft. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

Heritage campaigners took to the streets to mark the "sad and disappointing" end of an era as historic archives were controversially moved.

A lorry being loaded up at Lowestoft Record Office ahead of transferring archives to The Hold in Ipswich.

A lorry being loaded up at Lowestoft Record Office ahead of transferring archives to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

For the past three years members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group have been battling with Suffolk County Council to retain the archives in Lowestoft.

One of the lorries involved in the archives decant leaves Lowestoft Library for Ipswich.

One of the lorries involved in the archives decant leaves Lowestoft Library for Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

There was widespread anger, sadness and disappointment from campaigners this week as lorry loads of original Lowestoft Record Office archives made its way to the £20m The Hold in Ipswich.

Carole Byatt and Bernie Rappensberger of the SORO group at the archives decant in Clapham Road, Lowestoft.

Carole Byatt and Bernie Rappensberger of the SORO group at the archives decant in Clapham Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

Members of the SORO community campaign group wielded placards as they turned out every day to protest as the 'decant' - transfer - of historic archives was carried out between Monday, April 19 and Tuesday, April 27.

A mocked up coffin as the controversial archives decant continued at Lowestoft.

A mocked up coffin as the controversial archives decant continued at Lowestoft. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

The campaigners laid wreaths and a mocked-up coffin was visible as Suffolk County Council completed its controversial removal of archives from the former Lowestoft Record Office in Clapham Road.

Members of the SORO group laid wreaths as lorry loads of original Lowestoft Record Office archives left town.

Members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group laid wreaths as lorry loads of original Lowestoft Record Office archives made its way to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

Members of the SORO group wave placards as Lowestoft Record Office archives are moved to The Hold in Ipswich.

Members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group wave placards as Lowestoft Record Office archives are moved to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis


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The move, which the county council said was necessary for the long-term preservation of historic archives, sparked a 7,300 name petition, concerns from three Suffolk town councils and Waveney MP Peter Aldous as well as a storm of protests from heritage groups, historians and authors.

Bob Collis, chairman of the SORO group, said: "The people behind 'The Hold' should hang their heads in shame.

Bob Collis, chairman of the SORO group, during the protests.

Bob Collis, chairman of the SORO group, during the protests. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

Members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group as Lowestoft Record Office archives are moved to Ipswich.

Members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group as Lowestoft Record Office archives are moved to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

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"The council know what they are doing is unpopular and controversial with local heritage groups here."

THE GRIT author Dean Parkin in 2019. Picture: Courtesy of Dean Parkin

Author Dean Parkin in 2019. Picture: Courtesy of Dean Parkin - Credit: Courtesy of Dean Parkin

Highlighting "the level of resentment" against the move, award-winning author Dean Parkin said: "I wouldn't have been a writer without Lowestoft Library and Record Office.

Lowestoft Library

Lowestoft Library. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

A lorry being loaded up at Lowestoft Record Office ahead of transferring archives to The Hold in Ipswich.

A lorry being loaded up at Lowestoft Record Office ahead of transferring archives to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis









"The removal of Lowestoft Record Office has been a sad, enraging and disappointing affair, with Lowestoft now being robbed of a valuable and much-loved local resource."

Members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) protested as original Lowestoft Record Office archives were moved to Ipswich.

Members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group protested as original Lowestoft Record Office archives were moved to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: "The move of archives from the basement of the Lowestoft Library building to the new purpose-built strongrooms at The Hold is the long-awaited next step in the major county council project to find a more sustainable long-term solution to protect and preserve Suffolk’s archive collections.

A lorry arrives at Lowestoft Record Office ahead of transferring archives to The Hold in Ipswich.

A lorry arrives at Lowestoft Record Office ahead of transferring archives to The Hold in Ipswich. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

“Following the move of vulnerable collections, the Suffolk Archives Lowestoft branch will continue to hold and provide access to a wide array of material covering the whole of the Waveney area.

“The Suffolk Archives Lowestoft branch will reopen to the public from Tuesday, May 4 and for a temporary period visitors will need to book an appointment in advance."

Visit the Suffolk Archives website to book.

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