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Fears for William Salt Library's future if archives moved

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

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HISTORIANS fear the future of Stafford's William Salt Library could be under threat if its archive is moved.

There are also major concerns some of the collection could languish in storage as there will not be enough room at its new home.

Staffordshire County Council has begun consultation on a proposal to extend the Staffordshire Records Office in Eastgate Street.

Under the cost-cutting scheme the collection at nearby William Salt would be moved into the site, along with collections from the Lichfield Record Office.

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There are no plans to close the William Salt Library - though there are concerns over the condition of the building. But Mary Dodkins, chairman of Staffordshire Heritage, says there are no figures to say the new storage space will be sufficient to house the collection, which includes records dating back to the 11th century.

"The William Salt Library is the only building of its kind in England," she said.

"Even with the extension we are worried that there will not be enough space for the records and they may be put in storage. Researchers and historians searching for these may face lengthy delays."

Great Haywood historian Margaret George, of the Friends of the William Salt Library committee, said there was potential to raise cash to save the building.

The county council consultation states it is "estimated" there will be adequate room for the collection and that the library will remain open for use.

County councillor Mike Lawrence said: "Our preferred option is to extend the record office site at the Eastgate Street office. We are keen to hear what people think.

The consultation runs until January 31. The online survey can be found at http://bit.ly/19u3aUt

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