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The Hold Topping Out ceremony

25 Sep 2019 4:30PM

Construction of ‘The Hold’ archives and heritage centre has reached its highest point and today contractors, RG Carter, along senior officers from Suffolk County Council, University of Suffolk, Ipswich Vision and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, celebrated the official ‘Topping Out’ of the new building. 

Located on the campus of the University of Suffolk, within Ipswich’s unique and regenerating Waterfront, the building will house the majority of Suffolk’s nationally and internationally significant archives.  

Locally brewed Alcohol-free ‘Ghost Ship’ pale ale, kindly donated by Adnams, was poured onto the newly completed roof of The Hold building to mark the exciting milestone in the project, and in keeping with Dutch tradition (a nod to Ipswich’s historical connections with the country), bottles were handed out to all the construction workers. The Suffolk Flag was also flying high from the building to mark the occasion.

More than just a new building, ‘The Hold’ project will also be the engine for a transformed, audience-focused Archives service reaching out to diverse communities in Ipswich, the county and the nation, through its activity and digital programmes, engaging people in new and exciting ways.

The project is a partnership between Suffolk Archives and the University of Suffolk, a part of Ipswich Vision and is supported by heritage organisations across Suffolk, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and other funding bodies such as Coastal Communities and many more.

Paul West, cabinet member with responsibility for Heritage, said “We’re delighted to have reached this exciting milestone in the project’s development. The Hold will not only transform our ability to care for and showcase our county’s records and collections, but it will also engage audiences right across the county, bringing local and nationally significant exhibitions to all Suffolk Archives branches, state of the art research facilities and more access than ever before to digital collections." 

“The county-wide activity plan which comes hand in hand with The Hold building, is already enabling us to deliver many more archive-related events, learning activities and digital programmes, across the whole county, meaning more people can truly connect with Suffolk’s unique and fascinating history than ever before. This includes the Sharing Suffolk Stories programme and new schools resources being developed.

“The Hold is set to open its doors next spring and we can’t wait to see you there!”

There are now 15+ Sharing Suffolk Stories underway around the county, with community groups being supported to explore their history.

Tim Greenacre, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Suffolk, said “Today marks a huge milestone in the construction of The Hold. We are delighted with the progress so far and look forward to its opening in the spring. The Hold will bring huge opportunities for our students and the wider Suffolk community alike, as well as being a major draw for those travelling from further afield.”

Martin Fisher, Construction Manager at R G Carter said “It’s been great to see this educational vision in Ipswich come to life, and today is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the progress of this heritage space with future staff and key stakeholders. We are looking forward to handing over this unique building next year for the benefit of the local community, enabling them to enjoy and learn more about the many historic treasures and stories that the County has to offer.”

Anne Jenkins, Area Director Midlands & East, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said “This is an exciting milestone for The Hold and another step closer to opening the doors to an incredible archive of the story of Suffolk – and beyond. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, those stories are already being shared across the county ensuring more people than ever can explore and enjoy their heritage. We look forward to celebrating the opening of The Hold next year.”

Terry Hunt, Chairman of Ipswich Vision, said “The Development of The Hold was one of the original Ipswich Vision projects. It is an exciting project not just for Ipswich but also for Suffolk and the wider region. A real legacy for all our residents, visitors and students. It is another significant development for the Waterfront and a valuable resource for the heritage of the area. The Ipswich Vision partners are looking forward to the opening in the Spring.”

To mark the topping out of The Hold, local heritage charity, Suffolk Archives Foundation is today launching its ‘Make your Mark’ campaign to encourage public support for the project and through this give Suffolk’s colourful past an exciting future.

Funds raised will go towards meeting remaining construction costs at The Hold and the fitting-out of the interior of the building to the high standards that visitors from all walks of life deserve.

Peter Gray, Chair of the Suffolk Archives Foundation, said “The ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign provides an opportunity for people across the county to get involved in The Hold right from the outset.   We really hope anyone with an interest in local history will want to add their names to a specially crafted donors’ book, which will be kept and displayed at The Hold.  This book has been hand made by local company Owl Bookbinding and it will itself become part of Suffolk’s historical archives.”


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476