Issued by City of York Council
A £1.77 million transformation of the city’s archive has moved a step closer. An invitation to tender to create new public spaces and build a state-of-the-art store at York Explore Library Learning Centre has now been issued.
Six builders have been shortlisted to date following a pre-qualification competition. The contractors have until 27 September to submit their bids to City of York Council for evaluation. The successful firm will start work at the library in late November this year.
The scheme is part of the Gateway To History project, made possible by a £1.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The first floor of the Grade II listed library will be refurbished to provide dedicated spaces for the Archives and Local and Family History. A climate-controlled extension will be built to house the city’s unique records.
The archive contains documents dating back to 1155, including manuscripts recording visits from Richard III and the Siege of York during the English Civil War.
Other treasures include a map of Dringhouses and the Knavesmire dating from the 1620s, and photographs of the Hungate slums in the 1930s. The new store will provide the best conditions to preserve the fragile papers, parchment, maps and photographs for future generations.
Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “We want to keep the archives open as much as possible during the Gateway To History works, so that people are able to continue their research.
“Original documents will remain in storage until the building works are complete, but many books and microfilms will still be available.
“A selection of the most used resources from the Archives and Local History library will move to the ground floor of York Explore from Monday 7 October. Customers will be able to access Ancestry.com and historic York newspapers online for free at any library.
“We know that customers are interested to hear about how the building work will impact on the rest of York Explore.
“An ambitious building project like this always involves some disruption, but the work has been specially designed in phases to minimise the impact on the library.
“We will have more information about access and any short-term closures once the contractor has been appointed and the building timetable has been agreed.”
Access to the archives room on the first floor of York Explore will be limited from Monday 30 September to Sunday 6 October to allow the archives move to take place. The room will reopen on Monday 7 October for quiet study and access to computers during the day until the contractors arrive on site in November.
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