Exciting plans for a new heritage hub, bringing together unique artefacts telling Leicestershire’s story are being developed.
The centre will house over one million fascinating museum artefacts, archives and specialist resources for schools, currently stored at the Record Office and five sites around the county.
It’s planned to locate it at County Hall in Glenfield, making it easier for people to access the historic documents and collections reflecting fashion and design, art, natural history, home and family lives and more.
The vast collection includes the only surviving letter from Leicester-born Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man, unique records documenting the Suffragette movement and the internationally important Symington collection of corsetry and swimwear.
Two options, plus a package of external funding, are being developed further:
- refurbishing the Eastern Annexe – this has upfront costs of £17m and would be paid for using one-off pots of capital money and potentially, external funding
- building a brand new centre at the Western Annexe – this would cost another £18m - totalling £35m - and would only happen if a significant contribution can be secured from national bodies or benefactors
These ambitious plans are an opportunity to put our unique and important collections on the map.Person:Leicestershire County Council leader, Nick Rushton
By housing a range of items together in one place – in a more modern, secure and accessible location – we want to make it easier for more people to learn about the area’s rich past.
Councillor Richard Blunt, cabinet member for adults and communities, said: “These archives and collections tell Leicestershire’s story, and include unique, original records documenting key periods in history.
“Clearly there’s an upfront cost – and the new-build option is contingent on levering external funding. But storage space is running out at the Record Office and councils are required by law to run an archive and record-keeping service. That’s why we need to take action to preserve Leicestershire’s heritage for future generations."
The new hub will bring together:
The Record Office of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – over 11,000 archives are housed at the site in Wigston, run on behalf of the county, city and Rutland councils.
Collections – over one million museum artefacts reflecting fashion and design, archaeology, art, natural history, tools and products of local industries and home and working life are stored at sites in Lutterworth, Coalville, Barrow and Glenfield. These facilities are in varying states of repair and are accessible by appointment only.
Creative Learning – provides a wide range of resources and professional help to stimulate reading for pleasures and creative learning across the curriculum.
Registration Service records – these are currently stored at County Hall.
Councils are required by law to provide a publically accessible archive and record-keeping service. Leicestershire County Council’s Record Office is accredited by the National Archive and all of its museum sites are accredited by Arts Council England.