The Keep – information and inspiration

Training with The Keep

Introduction, information and tour

The Keep is a centre for archives that opens up access to all the collections of the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO), the Royal Pavilion & Museums Local History Collections and the internationally significant University of Sussex Special Collections. It also works to conserve and preserve archives in the UK. The Keep is in Falmer, Brighton. Our training day delivered by Andrew Bennett by an introduction to The Keep, a tour of the building and he displayed to us how to use the catalouge for ourselves.

The tour consisted of looking at the two rooms available to visitors, the first room holds published materials including a Microfishe for viewing newspaper archives, the second which contains original materials which are brought out for viewing by staff members from the hold room. We were lucky enough to view the cool-temperatured hold room. We saw the conservatist room, where a staff member works to restore and prepare materials for conservation at The Keep. We spoke to someone who is running a sound heritage project: Unlocking Our Sound Hertiage which is archiving sound recordings from the British Library which is a collection of over 6.5 million recordings of speech, music, wildlife and the environment, from the 1880s to the present day. The Keep is also home to the film director Richard Attenborough Archive and we saw one of his old cameras. 

Visit to The Keep

Written by Angi – PPF Volunteer

The Keep is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 09.30 – 17.00 and access is free to all, although there is a 2.50 charge for the car park. We travelled by 25 bus, which stops conveniently nearby.

We started with an excellent and very informative session with a member of the staff, who gave us lots of information about the materials available at the Keep, and most importantly, how to access them. We were all amazed at the vast quantity and wide range of documentation which is stored at the Keep! We found out how to use the catalogue to identify items we might find useful, and also how to order three items at a time in advance if required. We had a fascinating tour of this very hi-tec building, looking at the way in which all these valuable documents are so carefully stored in the correct way.

After a short lunch break we were able to access Room 1, the walk-in reference library which is freely open to all visitors, and Room 2, which contains original materials, and which requires a (free) Keep membership card. There we tried out our new skills to research a few specific items. We all found it hard to drag ourselves away at closing time – we were all well and truly hooked on this terrific local resource centre! We will be back again very soon!

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