SUFFOLK RECORD OFFICE
You can visit their "Suffolk Archives" website here with, of special local interest, the Richard Garrett & Sons of Leiston archive, centred on The Long Shop.
There are also walk-in branches in the following three towns ...
but these are currently closed during the coronavirus emergency — please follow the link here.
- SRO, 77 Raingate Street, Bury St.Edmunds, IP33 2AR
- SRO, Gatacre Road, Ipswich, IP1 2LQ
- SRO, Lowestoft Central Library, Clapham Road South, Lowestoft, NR33 1DR — but please see the foot of this page.
All branches of the Suffolk Record Office used to operate under the national County Archive Research Network (CARN) scheme — the issue of new tickets ceased on 30th November 2018, but unexpired CARN tickets will continue to be accepted. You don't need a Reader's Account to use microfiches or film, but, if you want to look at archival material and some local studies books, you can register for an SRO Reader's Ticket here.
Suffolk Record Office future developments (as reported in "AVSFHG Newsletter", October 2019)
The Suffolk Record Office has started its transition to create a reshaped service right across Suffolk:
* Two new Community and Learning Officers for the East and West of the county and a Volunteer Engagement Co-ordinator are already in post and engaging with a wider range and greater number of people.
* Building work on The Hold – the new Heritage and Archives Centre – in Ipswich, being created as part of "The Hold: A Suffolk Archive Service for the 21st Century", is progressing well. When it opens in Spring 2020, this new building will replace the existing Ipswich Record Office in Gatacre Road. Work on The Hold has reached a crucial point with a “topping out” ceremony on the roof. Read all about it here: https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/the-hold-topping-out-in-ipswich-1-6290527
The Lowestoft and Bury Record Offices will remain open:
* A reshaped service for north-east Suffolk will operate from the current Lowestoft Record Office space within Lowestoft Library. This space will be refurbished and improved over the next 12 months to offer a more welcoming place for visitors to study, share and enjoy their local heritage. Vulnerable collections will be transferred from the Lowestoft Record Office basement to The Hold’s strongrooms, built to the latest standards, once this new building is ready to accept collections. The wealth of collections and materials currently available in the Lowestoft Record Office Searchroom will continue to be available. These will be augmented by former archive collections that have been reassessed and reclassified as local studies materials e.g. the Port of Lowestoft Research Society. The new space will have a staff presence for at least 30 hours a week.
* The Bury Record Office ‘Outstore’ building will be vacated and the collections currently stored there (or their equivalent in size) moved to the purpose-built new strongrooms in The Hold when it opens. The main Bury Record Office building in Raingate Street including its strongrooms will be unaffected and will continue to offer a full archive service as it does now – by storing, preserving, and giving access to archive and printed local studies collections.
A greatly enhanced programme of events, hands-on learning activities, exhibitions etc will also continue in the Bury and Lowestoft Record Offices, in the new Ipswich Centre and across the county. More information and digitised materials including exhibitions will be available online.
NEWS ITEM, Autumn 2018: The Suffolk County War Memorial Roll of Honour, 1914-1918, has now been digitised.
NEWS ITEM, 10th AUGUST 2018
«The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today announces the development of a new Archives Card for England and Wales, having secured the commitment of 41 public and private bodies that will make the project financially viable.» [This does not apply to Suffolk Record Office, who have their own County scheme as explained above.]
«The new Archives Card will enable local researchers to use one personalised card to explore the richness and variety of local archives and record offices from Northumberland to Dorset, and Ceredigion to Norfolk. The new Card will take six months to develop and will then require a short period for testing and ensuring that the required equipment and materials are dispatched to participating services. It will then launch formally in April 2019.»
The new Card will be free to individuals who register for it online. Registration and applications will start in 2019. The ARA will announce details on precisely when — and on how — to do this later this year. You can see more information on the new scheme here.
Amongst others, the Record Offices of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex have all committed to the ARA Archives card. We suggest that you contact them direct to understand when and how each are implementing the scheme.
NEWS ITEM, April 2018: National Lottery funding approved for ‘The Hold: A Suffolk Archives Service for the 21st Century’ — more here
In January , Suffolk County Council [had] announced plans to replace the record office based at Lowestoft Library with an unmanned access point by the end of 2019, and move the archives currently stored there into a multi-million pound facility in Ipswich, [The Hold, mentioned above]. The current record office in Clapham Road South is not considered to be sustainable, because its basement is prone to flooding and damp hazards, and mould growth — whilst fire resistance is not up to the current standard. Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Tony Goldson, said the safeguarding of archives was the key concern.
[Following a campaign by the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group, with a petition that accumulated over 7,000 signatures, both Waveney District Council and the [Suffolk] County Council discussed the issue at their meetings in mid-July 2018, after which they agreed to set up a joint scrutiny committee. You can read newspaper reports at http://www.lowestoftjournal.co.uk/news/record-office-closure-to-be-scrutinised-1-5615148 and
at http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/waveney-and-suffolk-councils-to-form-joint-scrutiny-over-lowestoft-record-office-closure-plans-1-5618316. ]
Visit the Friends of Suffolk Record Office for information on recent acquisitions, their Newsletter or joining them as a member.