Archives sites set for £4million plan

Assistant Director Robert Gent examines the plans for the new Local Studies Library in Matlock with architect Richard Lomas, Senior Conservator Lien Gyles and Archivist Mark Smith at the Derbyshire Records Office.
Assistant Director Robert Gent examines the plans for the new Local Studies Library in Matlock with architect Richard Lomas, Senior Conservator Lien Gyles and Archivist Mark Smith at the Derbyshire Records Office.
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Plans for the £4m merger of Derbyshire Records Office and Local Studies Library went on show this week.

Residents had a chance to comment on the scheme which will combine the in-demand archive services at an expanded and revamped centre on New Street in Matlock, where the records office is currently based.

Derbyshire County Council staff hosted information sessions at the Records Office on Monday to showcase proposals for the year-long project, which will see Wyvern House extensively refurbished and a two-storey extension built at the Records Office.

Robert Gent, assistant director of cultural and community services, said the move would make more efficient use of space and improve visitors’ experiences.

He added: “A lot of people who use the Records Office also need to use the Local Studies Library. Having everything on the same site should give a much improved service for users.

“Treasures will be better displayed and meeting rooms will be created. It will also mean having the expertise of the staff in the same place.”

Opposition members objected to the move, when it was approved last year, arguing the money would be better spent on the county’s schools, which are facing a repairs backlog.

But the Conservative-run council said there was demand for the upgrade, with over 42,000 people last year using the office and its partner service, at County Hall.

There are five miles of original papers including historical maps, military treaties and official documents at the Records Office – but it is reaching capacity.

The move will provide between 15 to 20 years worth of additional storage for the records to keep flowing in.

The Local Studies Library houses information about the county’s towns and villages, houses, industries, families, traditions, customs and folklore.

The council said it was aiming to keep the services open during the merger process.