HISTORY buffs from across Cheshire are being asked to help decide where the future location for the county’s archives will be.
The archives – a priceless record of 1,000 years of Cheshire’s history – are currently located in a former warehouse in Duke Street, Chester.
But storage space in the county record office is so limited that the building cannot accommodate all the archives in its care – let alone provide the required expansion space for the next 20 years.
The residue of 710 cubic metres of history is stored at Winsford Salt Mine and in the basement of Chester Town Hall – at a total cost of £62,000 a year.
Environmental conditions do not meet current standards and the record office is no longer considered fit for purpose by the National Archives as home for one of Britain’s finest collections of historical records.
Now, history buffs across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington are being asked to help decide on a future location for the County Archives and Local Studies Service.
Alternative locations have already been looked at in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Winsford, Northwich, Crewe and Middlewich.
Cllr Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy, said: “The archives reflect the lives, interests and activities of Cheshire’s communities from the 12th Century to the present day.
“They are the home of our irreplaceable written heritage and a vital source of knowledge for people across the world.
“This is an award-winning and highly prized service.
“We’re encouraging everyone with a view to take the opportunity to express it.”
Around 5,000 people visit the record office in Chester each year; more than 3,000 attend its outreach events and activities annually; and around a million visit its websites each year.
First established in Chester in 1948, the record office houses a huge collection ranging from medieval charters and centuries old maps and prints, to early photographs and digital records from 21st century.
The consultation will run until June 30, this year and those who wish to comment are invited to do so online at http://archives.cheshire.gov.uk/