Official opening of new Cambridgeshire Archives at former Strikes bowling alley building in Ely

PUBLISHED: 16:57 07 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:01 07 February 2020

Archivists past and present attended the official opening of the new Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely. From left to right: Councillor Steve Criswell, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chair of the communities and partnership committee, Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith and Councillor Mac McGuire, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chairman. Picture: CAMBS COUNTY COUNCIL

Archivists past and present attended the official opening of the new Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely. From left to right: Councillor Steve Criswell, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chair of the communities and partnership committee, Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith and Councillor Mac McGuire, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chairman. Picture: CAMBS COUNTY COUNCIL

Archant

Archivists past and present attended the official opening of the new Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely, where 855 tons of historical documents have already been viewed by 170 people.

The view from the gantry of the new Ely Archives CentreThe view from the gantry of the new Ely Archives Centre

The new home opened to the public at the end of last year following a refurbishment of the former Strikes bowling alley building.

Since then more than 170 visitors have been to the new centre, which is three times the number that used to visit Shire Hall in Cambridge over the same amount of time.

Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith, the first female librarian of the House of Lords Library and a published historian unveiled a plaque alongside Cambridgeshire County Councillors on Thursday February 6.

Archivists past and present attended the official opening of the new Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely. Picture: CAMBS COUNTY COUNCILArchivists past and present attended the official opening of the new Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely. Picture: CAMBS COUNTY COUNCIL

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Work to move 855 tons of historical documents including Oliver Cromwell's baptism record and the original 17th century maps proposing the draining of the Fens began in December 2018.

The move came after an inspection by the National Archives which deemed the previous accommodation in the basement of Shire Hall as "no longer fit for purpose".

Work on the roof of Ely Archives CentreWork on the roof of Ely Archives Centre

Councillor Steve Criswell, Cambridgeshire County Council's chair of the communities and partnership committee, said: "The opening of this new centre is a moment of pride for us. It's an exciting new facility that demonstrates both the high regard the council has for the heritage of the county and the value we place on delivering a quality public service to our communities."

Councillor Mac McGuire, Cambridgeshire County Council's chairman, said: "The team have worked extremely hard on this project, spending many hours meticulously cleaning and packing up the county's precious archives ready to move as well as managing an extensive build programme and I'm extremely proud of what they have achieved."

The transcripts for the rest of the county will be at the Cambridgeshire Collection in Cambridge Central Library.

One of the pillars to support the roof at the new Ely Archives Centre at former bowling alley Strikes in Angel Drove.One of the pillars to support the roof at the new Ely Archives Centre at former bowling alley Strikes in Angel Drove.

For more information about the archives centre visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/libraries-leisure-culture/archives/visit-our-archives


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