Bowling alley to close as council announces new home for county archives

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Strikes Bowling Alley in Ely is to close and the building taken over by Cambridgeshire Archives.

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council announced on Friday that thousands of documents and records, some dating back to the 13th century, will be housed in the bowling alley, in Angel Drove.

Around 20 jobs have been placed at risk at the alley and adjoining Planet Zoom play facility as a result of the announcement. Bookings are still being taken and both facilities will remain open until the summer.

The council has been working to secure new premises for the archives, following an inspection which found that the current archives accommodation in Shire Hall, Cambridge, is no longer fit for purpose.

The council said the contract for the purchase of the building has been signed and the next steps will see it begin alteration works.

 Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Strikes Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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The council said taking over the alley would be “far more cost effective than a new build”.

Plans for the site include bringing together the archives from Shire Hall with many of the resources of the Cambridgeshire Collection, currently held in Cambridge Central Library, so that researchers can access all these historical treasures under one roof. Graham Hughes, Cambridgeshire County Council’s executive director, economy, transport and environment said “It’s been a long running project that’s looked at a number of options over the last couple of years. We’ve worked hard to reduce the overall cost of the scheme with this final outcome which offers as much but for around a third of the original budget.

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“Ely has excellent heritage connections and is widely accessible and we hope that the new location will appeal not only to loyal existing customers but also attract new audiences who perhaps haven’t yet discovered the archives.”

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