The creation of The Hold, in partnership with the University of Suffolk, will support and enable the development of a Suffolk Archives service for the 21st Century across the county of Suffolk. The project is supported by heritage organisations across Suffolk and has received funding support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Located within Ipswich’s unique and regenerating Waterfront, The Hold will safely house the bulk of Suffolk’s nationally and internationally significant archives. More than a building, the development is the catalyst for a transformed, audience-focused service, which can better reach diverse communities in Ipswich, the county and beyond.

Much has already been achieved, with a wide range of activity and digital programmes under way through the Sharing Suffolk Stories initiative. These varied and fascinating projects are already engaging people with Suffolk’s archival heritage in new and exciting ways. This work has developed again as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with new ways of sharing collections virtually being explored, such as through the development of a series of online displays.

Construction of The Hold progressed well despite the challenges of this year, and Monday 20 July 2020 saw the practical completion and handover of the building to Suffolk County Council. Between July and September much work took place focused on getting the building operationally ready. From Monday 28 September, the public were able to access ‘front of house’ areas at The Hold, including the shop, café, archive inspired displays, exhibition gallery, the auditorium and seminar rooms (University of Suffolk staff and students only), toilets, and Changing Place facility.

The formal public opening happened in September 2021 by HRH Duke of Gloucester.