End of an era for county record office

An historic record office building is preparing to close its doors for the final time – as the service moves to a new, state-of-the-art facility.

East Sussex Record Office has been based in the Grade II-listed Maltings, in Castle Precinct, Lewes, since 1949, but is moving to The Keep, a new £19 million archive resource centre at Woollards Field, in Moulsecoomb.

The search room at The Maltings will close on Friday 31 May 2013, before reopening later in the year at The Keep, which has been built as a partnership project between East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Sussex.

While the facility is closed to the public, staff and volunteers will be able to focus on the considerable task of preparing millions of historical documents for transfer to The Keep and supervising the move itself, which will take about four months to complete.

Meanwhile, the closure will also allow for building and testing of The Keep’s new website, online catalogue and document-ordering system ready for opening.

Elizabeth Hughes, East Sussex county archivist, said: “We will be sad to leave The Maltings but we look forward to welcoming members of the public to our excellent new facilities at The Keep.

“While the search room is closed, we will continue to answer as many postal and email enquiries as we can and to provide our paid research and copying services during the closure period, subject to staff and document availability.”

The Keep will house thousands of archives relating to East Sussex and Brighton & Hove dating back over 900 years, together with the University of Sussex’s Special Collections. It will also include the library and headquarters of the Sussex Family History Group.

Updates on the move are available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/thekeep