Public get the chance to see new history project as part of Crewe town centre regeneration
People in Crewe are getting the chance to have a say on proposals to build a new history centre in the town. The project, called ‘Cheshire’s archives: a story shared’, will see a completely new history centre built in Crewe – proposed for the site of the town’s old library in Memorial Square – plus there are plans for a new centre in Chester.
The aim is to transform access to Cheshire’s archives and ensure their preservation for future generations. Cheshire East Council is holding a public exhibition on plans to deliver the state-of-the-art new history centre in Crewe. It takes place at Crewe Market Hall between 2pm and 7pm on Thursday, July 14.
Cheshire Archives and Local Studies is a shared service of Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Councils, identifies, collects, and cares for archives and publications that are the evidence of our communities’ lives, both past and present.
The service is moving forward plans to rehouse the collections in two bespoke new history centres, which will provide access to the archives for all – for information, learning and enjoyment. One centre will be in Crewe and another in Chester.
The plans for Crewe are now reaching their next major milestone, with a planning application due to be submitted later this summer. A similar application for the Chester site will follow.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, lead for archives at Cheshire East Council, said: “It is hugely exciting that we are almost at the point of submitting the planning application for Crewe’s history centre.
“This project is not just about providing a suitable and long-term home for Cheshire’s collections, which stretch back more than 900 years.
“It is about bringing the collections closer to people and providing them with more opportunities to interact with them more easily – helping them to celebrate their personal and communities’ histories.
“The centres will create improved spaces for staff and volunteers to work with collections, as well as provide more spaces for research, performances, and exhibitions, and act as a base for activities which will take archives to a wider audience across the county.
“In Crewe itself, while helping the town to celebrate its heritage and supporting the aims of the Crewe Cultural Strategy, the history centre is a key part of the town centre regeneration plans, particularly in the development of a ‘cultural quarter’, of which the Lifestyle Centre, Lyceum Theatre, Market Hall and plans to transform Lyceum Square – known as the ‘Ly2 ’ scheme – are all part of too.
“I encourage people to go along to the public exhibition and take a closer look at what is being proposed.”
The archives project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a grant of £544,000 was awarded in 2019 to help fund the development of plans for the new centres in more detail.
A further grant application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund – expected to be made in October 2022 – will, if successful, fund the delivery of the project.