Society pleads: Help save Horncastle’s history

Sir Joesph Banks Centre
Sir Joesph Banks Centre

Priceless archives which tell the history of Horncastle from its Roman origins to the present day are in danger of being ‘consigned to a cellar’ - unless a new home can be found for them.

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

Attempts to find a suitable home for the archives, which society chairman Mary Silverton describes as ‘priceless’, are continuing with members approaching organisations and businesses that may have suitable premises.

However, the society is warning if no one comes forward, the collection will be closed and stored in a cellar or divided among members for safe keeping.

The society has been told the SJB Centre needs space for a Lincolnshire Herbarium.

This means the archives - a collection of film, photographs, maps, cuttings and original documents which record the unique history of the Horncastle area - will need a new home.

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

The society now needs to find premises which allow disabled access and conditions for the safe conservation of ancient documents, photographs and material in its care – and the means for visitors to study them.

The library section also contains many local books including a collection of the original ‘Morton’s Almanak’ from the 1900s.

There is a full record of the Horncastle Horse Fairs - once the largest in England - records of children’s homes in the town, collections about famous people and characters, maps and plans and documents telling the story of the long-closed local railway.

There is also a collection relating to the effect of World War One on the district.

Mrs Silverton added: “It is vital for the future of the town that its remarkable history is available for study and consultation.”

*Contact Mrs Silverton on 01507 523091 or email horncastlecivic@gmail.com