Work on the new home for Cambridgeshire Archives is ramping up and construction on the building project is on budget, on schedule and progressing well.
This will be a new dawn for the archives service, as for the first time the unique and irreplaceable historical records that have been held in the Shire Hall basement will now be kept in purpose-built and environmentally-controlled archives accommodation.
Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archives will temporarily be closed from this week (Monday 3 December 2018) so that staff can focus on the massive task of cleaning and repackaging just under 6km of archives in preparation for the move.
Contractors Coulson are doing a great job keeping the building work on programme, so Cambridgeshire Archives can reopen at the new archives centre in Ely in the autumn of 2019.
The archives service holds 855 tons of historical documents dating from the 13th century onwards. They include Oliver Cromwell’s baptism record, the original 17th century maps proposing the draining of the Fens, and Huntingdon’s borough charter of 1205, older than Magna Carta. Many of the oldest documents are written in Latin, meaning archives staff are probably the only members of staff at the County Council who still find a knowledge of Latin useful in their everyday work.
Alan Akeroyd, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Archives Manager said: “Our first priority has always been the safe and secure custody of the irreplaceable historical documents entrusted to our care, so it is terrific news that the construction project is on schedule and on budget.
“We are very much looking forward to re-opening to the public with a full service in our new building later in 2019, and we promise a warm welcome to anyone interested in discovering more about the history of their community or their family.”
Thanks to the kind generosity of the Huntingdonshire Local History Society, Huntingdonshire Archives will be open to the public one day a month during the closure period from December 2018 to May 2019, as the Society is helping to fund this opening.
The archives team have also arranged for some of the most popular information, the transcripts of parish registers from the 16th century onwards, to be held elsewhere so that they are still available to the public while the archives are closed. The Huntingdonshire parish register transcripts will be at the Norris Museum in St Ives, while the transcripts for the rest of the county will be at the Cambridgeshire Collection in Cambridge Central Library.
From the beginning of June 2019, Huntingdonshire Archives will reopen as normal in Huntingdon Library with a full public service.
Cambridgeshire Archives Service holds a wealth of unique historic records and other resources relating to Cambridgeshire, the former counties of Huntingdonshire and the Isle of Ely and their communities. Search their online catalogue to explore the historic records they hold by visiting this web page.