Public asked for views on Durham History Centre

An artist’s impression of the entrance to the new centre.

Residents are being invited to give their views on designs for a new history centre for County Durham.

A six-week public consultation on plans for Durham History Centre, which will bring together archive, heritage and registration services for the county, began on Wednesday, 19th June.

As well as having their say on how the centre will look, residents are being asked to comment on the layout, exhibition plans and digital access to services as well as the registration service.

The centre will be based in the Grade II listed Mount Oswald Manor, which will be restored and refurbished to provide a multi-use heritage centre where visitors will be able to explore nationally and internationally significant collections.

It will tell the story of the county’s history and heritage through historic records, photographs and objects, but will also host exhibitions, activities and events and provide a countywide outreach programme for children, schools and communities.

A series of drop-in sessions, where people can find out more about the plans and give their feedback, will take place on:

  • Monday, 24th June, 12pm to 3pm – Bishop Auckland Town Hall;
  • Friday, 21st June, 10am to 1pm – Durham Register Office, Aykley Heads;
  • Friday, 19th July, 12pm to 3pm – Clayport Library, Millennium Place, Durham.

Officers will also be attending Area Action Partnership meetings throughout June and July to talk about the proposals and gather feedback.

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Our plans to create a centre which will preserve, promote and celebrate the wide and varied history and heritage of County Durham are bold and ambitious and we are keen to share our proposals with residents.”

In addition to the county’s archives, which are currently accessed more than one million times a year, the centre will house historic registration records, environment and archaeology records and local studies collections as well as the Durham Light Infantry Collection, bringing artefacts and records relating to the regiment together for the first time in a number of years.

There will also be permanent and temporary exhibition spaces within the centre as well as a café, where visitors will be able to take a break.

The project will also see the relocation from Aykley Heads of Durham Register Office, offering significantly enhanced facilities for weddings and civil ceremonies in the historic surroundings of the manor house.

Feedback can also be provided online by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/consultation before Sunday, 28th July.

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