Consultation backs plans to close Lichfield Record Office

A public consultation has backed plans to move archives held at Lichfield Record Office to a new centre in Stafford.

Staffordshire County Council says more than 500 people gave their views, with 53% backing the creation of the new centralised History Centre.

Lichfield Record Office. Pic: Elliott Brown

Lichfield Record Office. Pic: Elliott Brown

The changes to Lichfield Record Office would see the creation of a ‘community history centre’ in Lichfield Library to allow people to access records online.

Cllr Ben Adams, Cabinet member responsible for the consultation, said: “We have listened to people and developed a new vision which will ensure we have a sustainable Archives Service that better meets the needs of its customers.

“The proposals mean we can preserve our collections while providing a modern service that allows many more people to access and enjoy the records.

“We will continue developing our online offer, offering access to more digitised collections, and at the same time, taking the service out and involving our local communities.

“People have made their views loud and clear and following consideration by the Joint Archives Committee in October we hope to submit a funding application to Heritage Lottery in December.”

The potential closure of Lichfield Record Office has drawn criticism from local experts though.

Annette Rubery, author of Lichfield Then & Now, warned against the loss of staff with “brilliant local knowledge”, while local history blogger Kate Gomez said that the lack of original documents would be a blow to the city.

“While I support the digitisation of archives, I do wonder how long it will take make the key collections available at the proposed centre in Lichfield?” Kate added.

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