Bowling alley will be suitable for historic archives - officials confirm

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council has moved to reassure researchers that the Strikes bowling alley in Ely will meet strict guidelines for storing historic archives.

Regular users of the current Cambridgeshire Archives, based at Shire Hall, in Cambridge, raised fears that the bowling alley, near Angel Drove, would not comply with standards set out by the National Archives and could expose thousands of historic documents to damage.

But the county council confirmed this week that it had worked closely with the National Archives on the move to Ely and insisted that the building would provide suitable accommodation.

Alan Akeroyd, archives and manager at the county council, said: “We’re well aware that the building will require work to be done before records can be held there and we’ll of course be ensuring that it meets the standards that are required.

“We’ve been working closely with the National Archives from a very early stage and I’ve personally met with them on a number of occasions to discuss the bowling alley. They’ve seen proposed plans and photographs and are aware of the materials used in the building and agree it is entirely suitable for conversion and we really value their support in moving this project forward.”

The announcement came in light of queries from a number of historians and researchers, who said the bowling alley would not be suited to the job of storing historic documents, some of which date back to the 1300s.

Historian Mike Petty, of Stretham, said: “The county council needs a new home for its archives, as the Government has condemned the present facilities at Shire Hall.

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“They propose to move the material and its associated research spaces to a bowling alley at Ely.

“The National Archives’ standard for records repositories says the repository and its storage accommodation must be of robust construction of brick, stone or concrete, with adequate protection for all roofs, walls, floors, ceilings and openings against unauthorised entry, fire, flood and damp.

“The bowling alley is made of stainless steel panels. It does not meet these criteria.”