New home sought for ‘priceless’ Horncastle archives

Horncastle archives.
Horncastle archives.
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Priceless archives which tell the story of Horncastle from its Roman origins to the present day are in danger of being consigned to a cellar - out of reach of the public and historians - unless a new home can be found for them.

The Horncastle History and Heritage Society has been given six months notice to leave its present Archive Centre in the Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Bridge Street, Horncastle.

Attempts to find a suitable home for the archives, which the Society’s chairman Mary Silverton describes as “priceless”, are continuing.

Members are approaching organisations and businesses who may have suitable premises but if this does not succeed, then the collection will have to be closed and stored in a cellar or divided among members for safe keeping.

The society has been told that the space occupied by its archives is needed for the creation of a Lincolnshire Herbarium.

Mrs Silverton said: “This notice to quit came as a complete shock to us as it was always hoped that the Sir Joseph Banks Centre would be the permanent repository for the archive collection.

“We have only limited financial resources and fewer than a hundred members, but we’re widely supported by people and organisations with an interest in Horncastle, including the Town Council.

“It is vital for the future of the town that its remarkable history is available for study and consultation, especially at a time when new development is taking place and when people are increasingly interested in their family history.”

Paul Scott, the Sir Joseph Banks Society chairman and vice chairman of the Lincolnshire Community Foundation who owns the building, said he was very sad that the town archive could not remain in the centre.

He added: “We have provided the archive room free of charge for the last few years but unfortunately, we are running out of space for our own archives and herbarium which are of national importance.”

Mr Scott said that Horncastle desperately needed a heritage centre/museum to house its impressive collections and that he would support the History Society to achieve this in any way that he could.