Friday, 31 May 2013

End of an era

Today saw the doors close on the East Sussex Record Office at the Maltings in Lewes.

The record office has been based there for over twenty years but it has long since outgrown its facilities.  

The research room was in the attic, a cold and draughty room with poor access for anyone with mobility problems.  There was not enough space to store all the material so in addition to the Maltings there are several other storage units; to get material stored off site often meant a wait of several weeks.

It did tend to lead to a friendly atmosphere as cramped facilities meant anyone enjoying a eureka moment or suffering the reverse could not help but share it with their neighbours.

Although some of the microfilm readers will survive the move to the Keep there is less need for them now that many parish registers are available in digital format.

But it wasn't all bad at the Maltings.  Step outside the door and you were in the shadow of Lewes Castle, a short walk away from the high street with its wide range of shops and surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

I won't miss the cold of the Maltings, the lack of space or delays waiting for off site material but I'll miss visiting Lewes and I do wonder what sort of atmosphere the much larger Keep will generate?

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