Lambeth council’s cabinet are set to decide what to do with the borough’s historic archives at their meeting in July.

The archives are currently housed in the Minet library in Knatchbull Road (with, as previously reported by News From Crystal Palace, some archives rumoured to have already been moved to the nuclear bunker beneath Pear Tree house on the under-threat Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace.)

Lambeth council and Greenwich Leisure want to turn part of the library into a gym. Lambeth’s own website currently states: “It is still proposed that a neighbourhood library will re-open in 2017.”

A background council document featured on the Brixton Buzz website says:

“An options appraisal has recently been commissioned for the Lambeth archives service as part of the Culture 2020 delivery programme approved by cabinet in October 2015.

“This decision report will present the findings of this appraisal, review the options identified and make recommendations for the future long-term home for the archives service.

“It is generally recognised that the present location for the borough archives are not fit for purpose and the storage conditions do not meet the necessary standards.

“Taking into account the council’s overall requirements in delivering an effective archives service, this report will make recommendations for the preferred option for the future location of the service, based on the capacity to fulfil the following criteria:

• Affordability both in terms of the capital and revenue required of the council to maintain both the service and facilities.
• Improved accessibility
• Utilising new technologies and address preservation and storage of current digital and born-digital records
• Maximising income generation
• Providing a destination where people can access the service, discover and learn about local identity and heritage
• Meeting the necessary standards for archive storage
• Be of sufficient capacity to house the existing collection and its projected expansion

(The background document makes no mention of Greenwich Leisure or the controversial gym proposal – Ed.)

Lambeth Local History Forum’s website says:

Lambeth Archives collects, makes available and preserves archives and published material relating to Lambeth and its people, past and present. These collections chart the growth and diverse histories of Lambeth over the centuries.

The archives reading room is open to the public free of charge, without appointment and you do not need to be a member of Lambeth Libraries to use the service.

Whether you want to trace your family history, house history, discover the origins of your neighbourhood or look at how the area is governed, staff will be there to assist you.

Lambeth archives shares its building with the Minet library, which was founded by William Minet in 1890 and whose collections of books, rare prints and manuscripts relating to the history of Lambeth and surrounding parishes are a core part of the archive collections. website says: Lambeth has commissioned a study to decide the future location of Lambeth Archives, currently located in Minet. That study has now reported back and is under review. The future range of activities that will be delivered in the Minet building will be decided once the Archives’ future is clearer, so the best use of the whole building can be considered. It is still proposed that a Neighbourhood Library will re-open in 2017.


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