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Sir Tony Robinson backs campaign to save record office

PUBLISHED: 17:26 17 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 17 February 2018

Tony Robinson.  Picture: James Bass

Tony Robinson. Picture: James Bass

A popular television star and historian has added his weight to a campaign to save Lowestoft’s record office.

Janis Kirby and Trudie Jackson, leaders of the Save Our Record Office group. 
Picture: Nick Butcher.Janis Kirby and Trudie Jackson, leaders of the Save Our Record Office group. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Sir Tony Robinson has backed the campaign to overturn a decision by Suffolk County Council to close Lowestoft Record Office and absorb its archives into a multi-million pound facility in Ipswich.

With members of the Save Our Record Office group (SORO) collecting more than 5,000 signatures in the fight to save Lowestoft’s record office, the campaign group was formed following an announcement on January 10, when the county council said the record office, based at Lowestoft Library, would be replaced with an unmanned access point by the end of 2019. The decision would also see the documents currently stored there moved down to Ipswich.

The record office is based at Lowestoft Library. 
Picture: Nick Butcher.The record office is based at Lowestoft Library. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Sir Tony, star of the hit BBC comedy series Blackadder and Channel 4’s Time Team, sent a message of support to Trudie Jackson, who set up the SORO group with Janis Kirby.

In an email to the SORO group, Sir Tony said: “Waveney and the Suffolk coast have their own unique history. To amalgamate their records and stories with those of the rest of Suffolk would do a great disservice to the strong sense of localism that makes this part of our island so special.”

The Lowestoft Journal is backing the Save Our Record Office (SORO) campaign. Picture: Archant.The Lowestoft Journal is backing the Save Our Record Office (SORO) campaign. Picture: Archant.

Local historian Bob Collis said: “This is an extraordinary state of affairs. The Heritage Action Zone plan in the High Street is now up and running. Dean Parkin’s Grit project and the Jack Rose Old Lowestoft Society’s heritage plaque plans are all going well.

“Yet against all these positives, our own county council seem oblivious to the effect the closure of the Record Office will have, not just on Lowestoft but the whole of north east Suffolk. They seem hell-bent in stripping us of our town’s precious heritage archives for the glorification of Ipswich”.

With the group due to meet soon with cabinet member for health Tony Goldson, SORO chairman Trudie Jackson said: “SORO has always said it would meet with Cllr Goldson if it was agreed that any meeting would be prior to a full public consultation, involving all interested parties and heritage groups in Waveney. That agreement has not been given. We have therefore decided that to meet, at this time, with Cllr Goldson and his team, would not be productive. SORO will continue to work towards a solution with Lowestoft Town Council, Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council that will ensure our archive remains local.”

The petition can still be signed online at www.change.org/p/tony-goldson-save-our-record-office

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