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Photo by Tony Mould

Brighton and Hove City Council has put forward proposals to shut Brighton History Centre as part of a bid to save almost £8 million from its overall budget in the next year.

But its users claim the closure, which will save the council £62,000, will be a devastating blow.

Brighton Evening Argus, December 15th 2009

Brighton History Centre is located on the first floor of Brighton Museum. Admission is free and requires no membership, with additional services charged at a fixed rate.

Visitors can explore Brighton’s local history using a variety of reference materials including newspapers, books, photographs, maps, oral histories and film material. Family history enthusiasts can search through electoral rolls, passenger lists and military material. And there is lots of help and advice on hand for those new to family history research.

The Centre was fully refurbished in 2003. It seems extraordinary that only seven years later, Brighton and Hove City Council are preparing to abandon their investment to ‘save’ a paltry £62,000.

Photo by Tony Mould

Brighton has a unique history – from the Prince Regent to the battle of the Mods and Rockers – and cultural tourism is a driving force in the city’s economy.

Local historian Tim Carder, co-author (with Rose Collis) of the forthcoming, fully updated Encyclopaedia of Brighton, has voiced his dismay at these latest proposals. Documents can be housed anywhere, but the expertise of staff is irreplaceable – and Brighton’s library system is already overstretched.

Whether you are a resident of Brighton or a supporter of history and communities, please consider signing this e-petition to save a precious local resource, or write to Councillor David Smith.

UPDATE: On Thursday January 14th, 2010, Brighton’s Evening Argus reported that the plans to close Brighton History Centre have now been dropped. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition, and here’s to the future of this great local resource. 🙂