DUDLEY'S new archives and local history centre in Tipton Road opened to the public on Tuesday enabling people to see some of the Earl of Dudley estate collection for the first time.
The £6 million eco-friendly, energy efficient building, below, has the latest IT technology and wi-fi services available for visitors, along with education and conference rooms, rare books library, research area, search room and free car parking.
The internationally significant Earl of Dudley estate collection is the archive's largest single treasure trove spanning eight centuries of history and has not been put on public display before. It covers the social, geographic and economic development of Dudley and the surrounding manors since the 12th century. Two project workers, an archivist and an assistant have worked for 12 months to catalogue 9,000 documents, 350 volumes and 2,000 maps and plans. The work was completed on time with the help of volunteers who clocked up more than 600 hours on a range of tasks including repackaging, typing, transcribing and indexing.
The archives service will be open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm, except Thursdays when it will open 9.30am until 7pm. Tours of the centre can be arranged by calling 01384 815568.