The Keep is coming!

Besi Besemar May 13, 2013

THe Keep

The Keep is coming ! The Keep is a new historical resource centre for East Sussex and the Brighton & Hove Unitary Authority.  Its conservators will collect, protect and connect with Brighton and Hove’s  ancient  and often unique heritage. The facility which is being built on land close to the University of Brighton at Moulsecomb, will be opening to the public in November 2013. To find it drive along the Lewes Road and turn left under the new flyover. Bus stops are being organised as we speak.

In 1997 Brighton and Hove became a Unitary Authority, but its own archives, historic and modern, remained integrated into the archives of  East Sussex County all currently housed at the East Sussex Records Office in Lewes, crammed into a listed former malthouse – The Maltings.

Following an inspection in 2006 The National Archives condemned The Maltings as “not fit for purpose” and threatened to move the archive material…..”If a better facility could not be provided within the county.“

The Keep is the brand new, purpose built, spectacularly modern and up to date building that has emerged after this historical crisis.

The Keep will store and shelter, conserve and preserve, all of the archives, documents, and historical records of  Brighton & Hove including written records, prints, maps, photographs, oral histories including manuscripts by Rudyard Kipling and Virginia Woolf. The University of Sussex’s Special Collections –  including the records of the ‘Mass Observation Project’ – will also be housed there.

The Sussex Family History Group will be based in the building, and will move its library there from Brighton Museum.  The Keep has six miles of temperature controlled underground storage. Even after all of the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove archives have been moved in, it is estimated that a third of the storage space will stilll be available.

Research facilities, including bar code digitalisation linked to computers, will be provided for public use. Educational visits by volunteer groups, societies and schools will also be welcomed.

On the light and roomy ground floor there are public reading and study rooms and a recording centre for oral histories. Conservation and archive preservation laboratories are on the first floor and a separate Energy Centre on the top floor.

Electricity will be generated from photovoltaic panels, turning rainwater into usable water and generating heat from a ‘biomass’ boiler which will help The Keep meet its aim of being “the most sustainable archive building in the country’.

A user group has been set up and an all inclusive information drive has begun to tell the citizens of Brighton & Hove of all hues, green, blue, red, yellow and rainbow of The Keep’s long awaited arrival.

The Keep
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