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East End’s historic Bancroft archives get makeover’

PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:30 05 October 2010

East End archives... in their historic setting

East End archives... in their historic setting

THE historic Bancroft archive collection covering 400 years of London’s East End is getting a 21st century makeover. The local history library that was saved last year from being broken up and the building sold off is being given a £255,000 revamp

By Mike Brooke

THE historic Bancroft archive collection covering 400 years of London’s East End is getting a 21st century makeover.

The local history library that was saved last year from being broken up and the building sold off is being given a £255,000 first phase’ revamp by Tower Hamlets Council.

The former Victorian public vestry hall at Mile End is being brought up-to-date to comply with current building regulations, just the start of a long-term project to restore it to its former 19th century glory.

A steering group local history organisations and heritage professionals to guide the improvements is being chaired by former MP and MEP Stan Newens, who said: “We have agreed vision’ which defines how the Archives will expand while seeing the library is sensitively renovated and redeveloped.”

The restored building is to be used for local history events, exhibitions and educational activities in addition to storage facilities being improved for the collections.

The council was under fire a year later over plans to break up The Bancroft, but made a U-turn after a protracted campaign by the East London Advertiser which included a petition on the Downing Street website.

Today, the mood is different at the Town Hall. Cllr Rofique Ahmed, Culture Lead member, said: “The Bancroft is a fantastic listed building which is steeped in history. The East End’s long and diverse history must be accessible to schoolchildren, residents and visitors, now and in the future.”

The move is part of the council’s overall Conservation Strategy announced last week with public consultations on what buildings, historical collections, archaeology, street markets, parks, open spaces and even views and personal memories residents want protected for generations to come. Consultation exhibitions run until February 19 at Idea Store libraries.


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