Construction of a brand new £5.4m history centre for Staffordshire is set to start in early 2023.
The Staffordshire History Centre will be formed by extending the existing Staffordshire Record Office on Eastgate Street in Stafford to incorporate the William Salt Library. A modern glazed entrance will link both buildings, creating exhibition space to showcase museum, archive and library collections with additional strong rooms installed to build space for a further 55 years of collections.
The contract has been awarded to Pave Aways Building Contractors Ltd, which will use suppliers and sub-contractors within a 40-mile range of Stafford.
The total cost of the project, which includes a four-year programme of activities, is £8,780,239. The project has been made possible thanks to a grant of £4,858,699 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Additional match funding of £3,921,540 was raised by the partnership, including Staffordshire County Council funding, grants, donations from local organisations and friends and in-kind contributions from volunteers.
Managing Director Steven Owen said: “We are very pleased to be working with the council to deliver this flagship building, which will play an important role in the preservation and development of Staffordshire’s history.
“Having previously built a records and archives centre in Mid Wales, we are well placed to meet the stringent conditions that are required to house these historic collections. We can’t wait to get started.”
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Staffordshire County Council said: “We’re justifiably proud of our history and wonderful collections and we want to be able to share them and be able to protect them for future generations to enjoy.
“We’re all incredibly excited about the project and it’s great to have the start confirmed for the new year. Not only will the project give us a brand-new heritage attraction for the county but it will bring together three amazing collections from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, the County Museum and the William Salt Library.
“In addition to the new centre, a dedicated programme of touring exhibitions will also help take the Staffordshire story out into local communities, helping to get more people interested in our fascinating history. We are grateful to National Lottery Players for making this funding possible.”