Lottery funding for new Highland Archive Centre

The Highland Council has warmly welcomed the £4.3 million grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the £10.2 million cost of a new Archive Centre which will house the archival heritage of the Highlands. A site has been chosen at the Bught, Inverness, adjacent to the all-weather pitch, and the Floral Hall.

Councillor Andy Anderson, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education Culture and Sport Committee, said: “This announcement is of major importance to the Highlands of Scotland. Our archives are of world significance and now we will be able to showcase them in one brand new state of the art building.

“The Archive Centre will be part of The Highland Council’s celebration of Highland 2007, when Scotland will celebrate our culture. The intention is to start building during 2007, and to open in 2009, the Year of Highland Homecoming. The centre will form the ‘hub’ in the Council’s hub and spokes strategy for the provision of its Archive Service. Smaller area archive centres will be developed as spokes. One spoke is already established in Caithness, and another is currently being developed in Lochaber.”

Convener Councillor Alison Magee, who is chairman of Highland 2007, said: “The Archive Centre will be a major legacy of Highland 2007.  Scotland is rapidly becoming one of the world’s cultural tourism destinations and now the Highlands will be a major player.  We are delighted at the support we have received from the Heritage Lottery Fund and also their decision to become a concordat partner for Highland 2007.”

The Archive Centre will have secure archive storage accommodation will be provided in repositories which are environmentally controlled to provide the correct conditions for the storage of parchment and paper, as well as records in other formats.

Searchroom facilities for public access to the archives will be provided at the Centre, including accommodation for school and community groups.

An Archive Conservation Unit will be included in the new building, staffed by trained archive conservators, where archives in a fragile condition may be treated and preserved for the benefit of future generations. This will be the first time such a facility has been available in the north of Scotland.

A dedicated Family History Centre within the building will be available for members of the public wishing to trace their ancestry.

The Council’s Registration Service will be co-located in the new Archive Centre, thus bringing together resources for family history research currently provided by the Council’s Archives and Registration services at separate locations within Inverness. This will mirror the development of the Family History Campus being set up in Edinburgh by the National Archives of Scotland, the General Register Office for Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon.

The establishment of the Highland Archive Centre will enable certain classes of documents such as for example, the Kirk Session records for the Highlands, to be returned to the Highlands from Edinburgh. This has not been possible previously, because the premises occupied by the Highland Archive Service, both for storage and public access, did not meet the standards required by the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

29 Jun 2006