The Hold is the flagship new heritage facility for Suffolk located on the University of Suffolk Ipswich campus.
With more than 900 years of the county's rich and diverse history to discover, this exciting new building will allow people of all ages and backgrounds to step inside and discover more about where they live and their own heritage.
The Hold will be open to everyone, offering not only archives specific services in the searchroom, library, and education room, but also state-of-the-art public facilities and teaching spaces for staff and students from the University of Suffolk. An exhibition gallery, café, shop and garden will complete the visitor experience.
The Hold is a partnership project between Suffolk County Council and the University of Suffolk. It has received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, other national organisations, and local Suffolk heritage groups.
The Hold will open its doors to the public for the first time on Monday 28 September 2020.
Visitors will initially be able to access ‘front of house’ public areas; archive inspired displays, the cafe, shop, and toilets, including a new Changing Place facility.
The opening hours will be:
- Monday to Friday: 9.30am - 4.30pm (café open at 8.30am)
- Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 4pm
This is stage one of a gradual and phased approach to bringing the building fully into use, trialling public access and testing out the new COVID-19 requirements that have been put into place to ensure a safe and secure environment.
We expect that the formal opening of The Hold (the whole building and full archives service) will take place early next year, once the building is fully completed and all the archives have been moved into the strongrooms.
From Friday 2 October the exhibition gallery will open to the public with a brand new exhibition called Global Events: Suffolk Stories. This display will examine how Suffolk has responded as a community to key global events over the past 100 years focusing on World War Two, and the 'Friendly Invasion' in particular, as well as the Cold War, and the more recent Covid-19 pandemic. Visitors will be asked to reserve a time slot and purchase tickets in advance via TicketSource, which from next week will be linked from the Exhibitions and The Hold sections of the Suffolk Archives website: www.suffolkarchives.co.uk
Time capsules were buried at some of Suffolk’s most culturally and historically significant locations on 28 February 2019.
The event marks the 900th anniversary of Suffolk’s oldest ‘treasure’, and the development of a new National Lottery funded Heritage centre.
The capsules were developed to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the oldest document in the Suffolk Record Office collections (the Royal Charter of King Henry I, Eye) and the building of a major new heritage and archives centre for the county (‘The Hold’: A Suffolk Archives Service for the 21st Century’) a partnership between Suffolk County Council and the University of Suffolk, (supported by £10.4 million funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund). The time capsules will capture a ‘snapshot’ of Suffolk life in 2019 for when they are dug up in 100 years’ time.
The nine locations for the Time Capsules burials were: Bury St Edmunds, Eye, Felixstowe, Framlingham, Haverhill (burial to take place next week), Ipswich, Lowestoft, Mildenhall, and Stowmarket. In attendance at the various burial events were local school pupils, District and County Councillors, Parish and Town Councils, local Mayors, Girl Guides, WI, The Befriending Scheme (Haverhill), the Suffolk Archives Foundation, Friends of Suffolk Record Office, a Cycling Club (Mildenhall), and representatives from Suffolk’s museums and community groups.
Materials were contributed to the capsules in the form of letters, stories, small objects, drawings, photographs, oral history recordings and ‘digital stories’. Digital content was also included on archival CDs which will be replicated in the Record Office’s special digital preservation system to ensure it can be read in 100 years’ time.
This content was collated by school pupils, local interest groups, community organisations and museums. All content in the capsules reflects what people feel is important about where they live, and what they would like the Suffolk people of 2119 to understand about life in 2019.
Tim Greenacre, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Suffolk, said “As the event shows, The Hold is far more than just a building. It will be the catalyst for a countywide programme of activities and events, and will transform the way our archives reach communities around Suffolk. The University is proud to be at the heart of this transformation, and we are excited about the new state-of-the-art teaching spaces that will be available to our students. We expect The Hold to have a significant direct impact on their university experience, as well as students and visitors of all ages from across the county who will be attracted to Ipswich and the Waterfront.”
Later in the year, the Record Office will begin to work with communities to develop digital history trails to start and end near each capsule location. The trails will take in important historic sites and features for each place, with connections to the archival collections held in the Record Office. People will be able to follow the trails using their smart phones as well as by traditional means. The first trail should be launched on Suffolk Day (21 June 2019) with others to follow.
*Photos by Suffolk County Council