A temporary closure will be put in place at the Cambridgeshire Archives to allow irreplaceable, historical records to be moved to a new home.
Work to clean and pack up 855 tonnes of documents in preparation for the move next year will now take place.
This represents a new dawn for the archives service, as for the first time the unique records that have been held in the Shire Hall basement in Cambridge will be stored in a purpose-built and environmentally-controlled archives centre in Ely.
The archives service holds 855 tons of historical documents dating from the 13th century onwards. They include Oliver Cromwell's baptism record, the original 17th century maps proposing the draining of the Fens, and Huntingdon's borough charter of 1205, which is older than Magna Carta. Many of the oldest documents are written in Latin, meaning archives staff are probably the only members of staff at the county council who still find a knowledge of Latin useful in their everyday work.
Alan Akeroyd, Cambridgeshire County Council's archives manager said: “Our first priority has always been the safe and secure custody of the irreplaceable historical documents entrusted to our care, so it is terrific news that the construction project is on schedule and on budget.
“We are very much looking forward to re-opening to the public with a full service in our new building later in 2019, and we promise a warm welcome to anyone interested in discovering more about the history of their community or their family.”
The archives team has also arranged for some of the most popular information, the transcripts of parish registers from the 16th century onwards, to be held elsewhere so that they are still available to the public while the archives is closed. The Huntingdonshire parish register transcripts will be at the Norris Museum, in St Ives, while the transcripts for the rest of the county will be at the Cambridgeshire Collection in Cambridge Central Library.
From the beginning of June 2019, Huntingdonshire Archives will reopen as normal at Huntingdon Library with a full public service.
Cambridgeshire Archives service holds a wealth of unique historic records and other resources relating to Cambridgeshire, the former counties of Huntingdonshire and the Isle of Ely and their communities. You can search their online catalogue to explore the historic records they hold by visiting the website at: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/libraries-leisure-&-culture/archives/.