'You might as well move it to the moon' - author speaks out against record office closure
PUBLISHED: 15:16 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 24 April 2018
A Lowestoft author and poet who has spent the last 40 years researching and documenting the town's Beach Village, is the latest in a string of TV personalities and historians to speak out against the decision to close the record office.
Dean Parkin, who co-authored with the late Jack Rose the definitive book on the history of the Beach Village, known as The Grit, has given his backing to the SORO group (Save Our Record Office) fighting against Suffolk County Council’s decision to replace Lowestoft Record Office with an unmanned access point by the end of 2019.
The plans would also see the archives currently stored there moved to Ipswich.
Mr Parkin said: “Moving the record office to Ipswich will disconnect Lowestoft from its own rich history - you might as well move it to the moon.”
Mr Parkin is currently putting the finishing touches to a revised edition of the book, which was first published in 1997. And earlier this year he organised a successful Beach Village exhibition and illustrated talk at Christ Church hall, with further Beach Village community events planned.
He said: “Lowestoft’s Record Office, and the knowledge of the local staff are invaluable for researching the town’s past.
“Having written and edited many books about Lowestoft, I know for a fact that each and every one benefited from essential visits to the record office, delving through the files, maps, photos and books.
“My old friend Jack Rose used to spend hours going through the microfilms of the old newspapers among other things, seeking out stories, facts and dates about the town he loved, and which provided the basis for his incredibly popular slideshows, books and videos.
“Lowestoft is rightly proud of its history and it would be a terrible crime to remove this valuable resource from the town.”
Suffolk County Council said the changes need to be made as the current conditions in the Lowestoft basement strongroom do not meet the new National Archive standards.
Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “We have listened to concerns raised by local residents and as a result we will be formally consulting on the future of the record office service in Lowestoft. A record office service will continue to be offered in Lowestoft and what this will look like will be determined by the consultation. We have met with local historians and interested parties through a series of pre-engagement events and the feedback from these events will help inform the proposals for the public consultation.
“Our priority remains the safeguarding and preservation of Suffolk’s archives in the best possible conditions for the use of current and future generations.”
The public consultation is due to start in late spring.