Date Released - 29/07/2003

A £1M archives centre will guarantee Tameside's historical documents are preserved in Tameside for generations to come.

The documents - some dating as far back as the 1700s - are currently looked after by Tameside Council at the local studies library in Stalybridge and in the old Technical School in Ashton.

The new building will ensure the precious archives - including those of the Manchester Regiment and the Stamford Estate - are stored in the environmental conditions needed to preserve them. If it was not for the new centre the records
would have to be moved and stored in Preston where they could be kept in conditions in line with British Standards.

The state-of-the-art centre will be built next to the Central Library and the Technical School. Dukinfield builder Ian Martin and Co has won the contract for the work, designed by architects Cruickshank and Seward. Work will start in September and be completed in early April next year.

“This is a very exciting venture," said cabinet deputy for lifelong learning, Cllr Joe Kitchen. "We have so much history here in Tameside and so many items detailing our colourful past.

"Now we will have a modern building, fully equipped for research purposes where documents and artefacts can be stored for future generations to see."

The new archive centre will be linked to the existing Grade II listed library building by a glazed atrium and also with the historic four-floor former Heginbottom Technical School building, making one complex for the library and local studies service.

It will offer a reading room for up to 40 people, with computers, microfiche readers and printers. The reading tables will have sockets to take laptops and recording equipment for oral history purposes. There will also be a reception area, small shop area and area for refreshments.

Council local studies staff will also have workshop space to carry out restoration work. The mobile storage system, which moves on a series of tracks, will provide 60 per cent more storage capacity than a conventional static system and the storage area will have tightly controlled temperature and humidity.

It has been designed to the latest British Standards BS 5454:2000 ‘recommendations for the storage and exhibition of archival documents’ and also meets the needs of disabled people, under the latest code of practice BS8300:2001. Windows have been kept to a minimum as ultra-violet light from the sun’s rays can damage archive documents.

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