Suffolk Archives Coronavirus update
4 September 2020
All branches of Suffolk Archives (Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft) remain closed to the public.
We are working through the risk assessment and planning process with Suffolk County Council colleagues in order to ensure our buildings are Covid-19 secure before they reopen.
Many of our colleagues will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. However, we are pleased that the situation has progressed in such a way that we have recently gradually started to reintroduce staff to our branches.
We obtained permission for limited staff to return to Gatacre Road, The Hold and the Bury St Edmunds branch at the end of the summer and we expect Lowestoft to follow soon; the situation there has been slightly more complicated as it is a shared space.
This helps us restart some of our services which are harder to operate remotely and enables preparations for the move to The Hold to resume.
Public access to our Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft branches will follow the successful reintroduction of staff and the full testing of all new processes and safety requirements. We expect this should become possible in the autumn. We will be introducing a number of measures for added protection, focused on social distancing and increased cleanliness. It is likely that opening times will be reduced, and users will be asked to book attendance slots and pre-order documents.
As previously planned, the Ipswich branch will remain closed to the public until the move to The Hold has taken place. It is likely that this will now have to be a phased and gradual opening, with the University of Suffolk using the auditorium and seminar rooms for teaching purposes from the end of September, and the first Suffolk Archives exhibition opening in the autumn. We do not expect to formally open the building until 2021.
These plans are being formed in line with current government guidance and as such may be revised should further changes occur.
There is no change to the services users can access online; they can still browse the website and search the catalogue, as well as purchase and download digital images. Further information is available on our Using the Website page.
The new virtual activities introduced over the past six months, including Displays Online, Life in Lockdown, educational resources, and other activities, are still available to explore online and are being continually updated and added to.
We will continue to update this page as and when new information becomes available.