Sunday, 3 January 2010

Brighton History Centre threatened

Here's another one for the "if we don't hang together, we'll hang separately" file from BIFHSGO colleague Christine Jackson and the FFHS Archives Liaison.

I'm looking for people to sign an online petition. Perhaps you - and your friends - would consider supporting it?
It is a petition to save the Brighton History Centre, which is threatened with closure in March for financial reasons - to save £62,000!

"Brighton’s History Centre is located on the first floor of Brighton Museum. It is a unique ‘one stop shop’ for information on all of Brighton & Hove’s Museums’ and Libraries’ collections and is the place to come to research any aspect of the city’s heritage.

Explore Brighton’s local history using a variety of reference materials including newspapers, books, photographs, maps, oral histories and film material. Family history enthusiasts can search through electoral rolls, passenger lists and military material. And there is lots of help and advice on hand for those new to family history research."

Here is the link to the petition - you have to register with the site first in order to vote - http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=83&RPID=227688
If this local history centre - see http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/Museums/brightonhistorycentre/Pages/home.aspx - closes in March as proposed, local historians - and those further afield who rely on them for look-ups - could lose access to (among many other things):

- an unrivalled local Sussex newspaper archive going back to the 18th Century
- an unrivalled collection of historic maps of Brighton and Sussex
- a fantastic collection of local Brighton and Sussex residential and trade directories
- local census microfilms & parish register microfiches
- the complete national birth, death and marriage indexes
- electoral rolls stretching back to the 19th Century
- free access to the Ancestry Online databases
- the expert assistance of the Centre staff whose jobs will disappear if the Centre closes in March.

To express views in addition to simply voting through the e-petition.

The City Councillor with responsibility for "Culture, Recreation and Tourism" is David Smith: david.smith@brighton-hove.gov.uk

The leader of the council is Mary Mears: mary.mears@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Their address for correspondence is:

King's House
Grand Avenue
Hove
BN3 2LS

There has been quite a lot in the local paper about it (see for instance):

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4791880.Plans_to_close_Brighton_History_Centre/
http://www.theargus.co.uk/yourargus/letters/4821714.Closure_of_Brighton_history_centre_would_be_a_disaster/
http://www.theargus.co.uk/yourargus/letters/4827163.Integrity_of_the_history_centre_will_be_lost/
http://www.theargus.co.uk/yourargus/letters/4827155.Council___s_decision_on_history_centre_is_plain_short_sighted/
http://www.theargus.co.uk/yourargus/letters/4805466.Keep_our_History_Centre_open/

More letters can be submitted online here:

http://www.theargus.co.uk/yourargus/letters/argusletters/

My experience is that it is often quite salutory for councillors to experience the remarkable outpouring of protest that this type of proposal can engender.

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