Global Events: Suffolk Stories

We are delighted that The Hold has just opened to members of the public with its inaugural exhibition – Global Events: Suffolk Stories. This exhibition explores how the Suffolk community has responded to different international events throughout history. Focusing on the arrival of American service people during the ‘Friendly Invasion’ of WW2, the rising tensions and public messaging of the Cold War period, and the collective community response to COVID-19 during 2020. The exhibition runs from 2 October 2020 to 10 January 2021. Booking is essential. Find out more information here: Global Events: Suffolk Stories

RAF Lakenheath

COVID-19 impact

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, all branches of Suffolk Archives are currently closed. More information can be found on their website:

In terms of the impact on The Hold, excellent progress with the construction work had been made before the lockdown occurred, but unfortunately work had to completely stop at the end of March. Work should be starting again week commencing April 27th, using appropriate guidelines and social distancing measures. Suffolk Archives currently expect the building to reach completion over the Summer, but this is subject to change as there may yet be further developments or restrictions introduced by the government.

As well as construction work being delayed, the lockdown has delayed the preparations to move staff, equipment, furniture and collections into the building. It is not possible to estimate exactly when this work may resume again, but Suffolk Archives hopes staff will be able to access and use the building alongside the University at the beginning of the new academic year in September, depending on the COVID-19 situation. It is still very hard to set timeframes for public access, as this will be dependent on government guidance regarding the relaxing of the lockdown, gatherings of larger groups of people, and social distancing recommendations. Suffolk Archives will post updated information to their website as it becomes available, so be sure to visit

interior The Hold - photo: R G Carter
photo: R G Carter

Life in Lockdown

In these unprecedented times, Suffolk Archives is seeking volunteers to help them capture a record of life in Suffolk during lockdown. Whether that’s keeping a diary, spotting fake news, scrapbooking, or recording your social distancing experiences, they want to preserve your contributions to create a permanent collection of this important period in history. Visit their website to find out how to sign up and contribute

records in storage

Latest photos from The Hold

Work on The Hold is now mainly focussed on the inside of the building, which is really coming together. We had a sneak preview of the site recently and the look and feel of the building is more and more apparent.

Suffolk Archives Foundation launches ‘Make your Mark’ campaign to support The Hold

To mark the topping out of The Hold Suffolk Archives Foundation is today launching its ‘Make your Mark’ campaign to encourage public support for the project and through this give Suffolk’s colourful past an exciting future.

Funds raised will go towards meeting remaining construction costs at The Hold and the fitting-out of the interior of the building to the high standards that visitors from all walks of life deserve.

“The Make your Mark campaign provides an opportunity for people across the county to get involved in The Hold right from the outset. We really hope anyone with an interest in local history will want to add their names to a specially crafted donors’ book, which will be kept and displayed at The Hold. “This book has been hand made by local company Owl Bookbinding and it will itself become part of Suffolk’s historical archives,” comments Peter Gray, Chair of the Suffolk Archives Foundation.

Those wishing to support the Make your Mark campaign can do so by:

  • becoming a supporter, for £20, which enables them to sign the donors’ book at special signing ceremonies, OR
  • becoming a friend, for £100, which enables them to sign the donors’ book, and also gives them an invitation to the main launch event. In addition they will receive a commemorative brick in recognition of their donation.

    Names of a lucky few supporters and friends will also be chosen at random and appear on a donors’ wall inside The Hold.

    Anyone wishing to sign up for the Make your Mark campaign should visit the Make Your Mark page on this website

First Meeting of Countywide Teachers’ Network

School group

On 27th June, the Chair of the Suffolk Archives Foundation joined the Record Office’s Community and Learning Officers (Mandy and Hannah) to talk to KS3 History Teachers about the immense opportunities The Hold and Suffolk Record Office has to offer students in supporting their learning.

Over the coming months, Mandy and Hannah will be developing teaching resources, visit plans and experiences for teachers and students; we hope teachers will continue to support this work with valued input, review and assessment and participate in what is to become our countywide Teachers’ Network.

We want to ensure that the schools programme for the whole county supports education and curriculum needs, providing children and young people with relevant and creative cultural experiences on varying levels: visits, digital, physical resources and in their community.

In order to keep teachers aware of developments and initiate the Teachers’ Network, Mandy and Hannah will be launching a termly Teachers’ newsletter in the autumn. The Record Office will also host teachers’ networking events which will allow them to learn about opportunities at The Hold and the Record Office’s other branches, and to meet other liked-minded teachers.

If you are a teacher and would like to get in touch with Mandy or Hannah for more information, please email

A snapshot in time

Suffolk Archives Foundation Trustees David and Jane were very pleased to attend the burial of a time capsule in the curtilage of The Hold recently.

The capsule was one of 9 that were buried on February 28th at various locations around the county, to mark not only the building of The Hold but also the 900th anniversary of the oldest treasure in the Suffolk Archives – the Charter of Henry 1st to the monks of Eye.

The capsule locations were:

Bury St Edmunds

Staff from the Record Office worked with a team of Graduates from the Suffolk Graduate Partnership Scheme to engage school pupils and other groups to contribute items, creating a snapshot of Suffolk life in 2019 – to be uncovered again in 2119! Here are a selection of images from each location. More are available on the County Council’s Flickr page here.

Thanks to our supporters who attended ‘Suffolk’s Musical Innovators’!

A huge thank you to everyone who attended ‘Suffolk’s Musical Innovators’ on November 22nd – the first event held in support of the Foundation, and the launch of the fabulous new CD ‘Sounds of Suffolk’ by Eboracum Baroque, which will shortly be available to buy at Suffolk Record Office branches (hear some samples on their website at

Below are some photographs taken at the event – enjoy!

Suffolk’s Musical Innovators

An evening celebrating Suffolk’s rich, musical history from the 18th Century through to the 20th with works by Gibbs, Handel and Britten. This candlelight concert features Eboracum Baroque and the Tower Chamber Choir in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary Le Tower Church, Ipswich.

Please join The Suffolk Archives Foundation for an evening honouring the 18th Century Baroque composer and Suffolk music celebrity Joseph Gibbs. Celebrating the release of their new CD, compositions by Gibbs will be performed by Eboracum Baroque featuring Violinist, Alice Earll. Additionally, learn more about Gibbs the composer and enjoy a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia by the Tower Chamber Choir. There will also be songs and arias performed by the tenor, Jonathan Hanley including works by Handel and Suffolk folk songs. The concert also falls on St Cecilia’s day, the patron saint of music.

This exciting fundraising event is in support of The Hold. Located within Ipswich’s unique and regenerating Waterfront, The Hold will house the bulk of Suffolk’s nationally and internationally significant archives. It will be the engine for a transformed, audience-focused service reaching out to diverse communities in Ipswich, the county and the nation, through its activity and digital programmes, engaging people in new and exciting ways.

20.00 – 21.30

Doors: 7:45pm
Carriages: 9:30pm
Tickets: £15 (under 16s gratis) from
Guest performers: Jonathan Hanley, Alice Earll, and the Tower Chamber Choir
Proceeds to: The Suffolk Archives Foundation

Concert poster