It seems like only yesterday that we were campaigning to save the Brighton History Centre yet here we go again.
In 2013, the local history treasures accessible for generations in the centre of Brighton were integrated into the new, purpose-built archive at Falmer, along with the University of Sussex Special Collections, the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) and the Sussex Family History Group Library.
The project partners worked tirelessly to find a site accessible to all users of this urgently needed purpose-built repository. Designed to optimise conditions for archival materials to ensure their longevity, professionals and volunteers alike have continued to put their all into optimising the ‘customer experience’ too.
Just seven years later, however, this state of the art facility is under significant threat. Several staff redundancies have already been made and it is now proposed to cut opening hours drastically to make further cost savings:
Future-proofing or the thin end of the wedge?
With fewer staff working fewer hours, less can be offered while researchers travelling to the facility from out of town will be constrained in what they can achieve in such short sessions. Should visitor numbers fall in response to a reduced service, further erosion of this prized resource could well follow.
Have alternative means of achieving the required saving of £125,000 per annum been thoroughly investigated – strategic letting of underused space in the building, for example? This question needs asking and creative solutions found.
Please act now
If you have ever consulted materials in any of the Keep’s collections, benefited from the expert advice of the dedicated professional staff – or, indeed, the equally dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers in the Sussex Family History Group Library – or if you have you have not yet visited but have it in mind to do so, please support the campaign to nip further funding cuts in the bud.
Firstly, and most urgently, do complete the short survey at https://www.thekeep.info/ (or simply type into your search engine “the keep archives”). Completed forms can be submitted online. Alternatively, the form can be printed out and either posted or hand delivered to the Keep.
The deadline for submission is October 25th 2020.