The Hold

Back in July of this year the builders of ‘The Hold’ completed their part of the project and handed over the keys to Paul West, the Suffolk County Councillor with responsibility for heritage. On receiving the keys Mr West commented, “We can get on with fitting out and that’s a two to three month project. Then we’ll have a sort of phased opening over the autumn. We hope to have an exhibition in November.” Well, as we all know November 2020 brought us another lockdown.

Architect’s model of The Hold. Photograph courtesy of the Suffolk Archive Foundation.

If you’re not from Ipswich or Suffolk, you are probably wondering what on earth is ‘The Hold’. The answer is, it is the new, purpose-built complex that will house the Suffolk County Archive.

I have followed this project with interest since 2017 when, firstly and sadly, I noticed some large trees were being chopped down. Then a smart black fence of boards was erected securing the site and carrying a display of information about the development.

Over the past 18 months I have been taking the odd photograph as the buildings started to take shape. The Hold is situated on the edge of the University of Suffolk complex and is close to the Ipswich Waterfront. It has been mostly erected on part of the university car park, it was a pity about the trees though.

July 2019 – The Hold’s the two main archive buildings have roofs.
July 2019 and the front of The Hold is beginning to take shape.
December 2019 – and all the brick walls are completed and all the glass has been installed.
July 2020 – It is half a year later and we are now in the midst of the Covid pandemic yet the builders have continued working and the hard landscaping is is nearly finished.
There’s even been planting of lavender. Sadly, this was the first lavender planting which all died. Although lavender is ideal for this position and it is a pretty drought-tolerant plant, it does need some watering when first planted, oops!
September 2020 – All looking good and the second planting of lavender is thriving.
September 2020 – The old and the new.

Originally this £20 million project was scheduled to open around Easter 2020 no doubt with a special, civic event, however that date passed in the middle of the first lockdown and ‘The Hold’ finally opened in October.

October 2020 – The Hold is open to the public and there is even a café with outside tables at the entrance.
December 2020 – The Hold is open again after lockdown 2.0 and operating under Tier 2 restrictions. However, the café has not reopened and the archive will not be accessible in person until completion of the move from the old Gatacre Road site is completed sometime early in 2021.

It may have taken an extra six months to complete, but the finished building looks interesting and inviting and I look forward to visiting in normal times.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

14 thoughts on “The Hold”

    1. Yes, the University of Suffolk has been going since 2007 with the main buildings down near and on the Waterfront. That large stone question mark stands (well lies) in front of the main admin building. My daughter and I are perplexed as to why it is a ‘fallen over’ question mark. Rather fits with my Nanna’s favourite comment ‘Silly Suffolk’ whenever she spoke of her family’s county.

    1. Thank you. I am rather taken with the bauble tree too. I like it particularly as it comes out of storage ever year replacing the need for a large beautiful pine tree to be felled.

      1. Very good, very good. I have a backlog of things I want to do once I’ve been vaccinated although that doesn’t look likely for another four or five months although my father just might be given his before Christmas. 🤞🏻

  1. A fascinating story Agnes. I share your concern about trees being sacrificed. Same thing here, we are always facing the issue of trees sacrificed for architecture . My wife is a Landscape Architect and I help her fight battles. We have had a couple of beauties this year. The biggest is over inter-state highway re- alignment and spiritual Indigenous trees of significance. The Lavendar issue is another interesting side issue. I assume a Landscape Architect would have been contracted for the external connections even possibly later? I love your Nanna’s comment. I have great grandparents on my fathers side who emmigrated from Norfolk in the mid C19th. Are they as silly as Suffolkers?

    1. Loss of trees and ancient woodland is terrible isn’t it. Just Google HS2 and see the vandalism being inflicted through the heart of England – outrageous. I expect you and your wife will recognise the type of people involved in such schemes. I think the lavender problem was everybody thought everybody else was doing the watering. Now about the folk of Norfolk, mmm, there’s the old joke NFN, normal for Norfolk and hints at webbed feet!

  2. Most tree vandals here are property developers who are basically greed driven terrorists. And government legislation at times. The webs have grown out by the second generation locally. And how are Suffolkers referred to by their neighbouring counties?

    1. Sadly, I think corruption has ever been with us to a greater or lesser extent. I expect Suffolkers are referred to these days with something a little stronger than ‘Silly Suffolk’!

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