Historic records to receive new home with the help of £4m grant

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FILES which form a timeline of the nation’s treatment of mental illness alongside mining records delving into Yorkshire’s industrial past will be given a new home with the help of a major grant.

Work on a state-of-the-art centre designed to re-ignite public interest in the histories of the former counties of West Yorkshire, West Riding and the Wakefield district is set to get underway with the help of the multi-million pound donation from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Almost £4m has been awarded to Wakefield Council to re-locate more than 10m records, which will include all of the court proceedings of West Riding from the Registry of Deeds building in Wakefield, which has been deemed unfit for purpose.

Other archive materials which will be housed in the facility, due for completion in 2016, include files from Stanley Royd Mental Health Hospital, where thousands of local men, women and children received treatment between 1841 and 1991.

The collection is credited with having a pivotal role in providing insight into how caring for patients changed over 150 years.

The leader of Wakefield Council, Coun Peter Box, said: “This is fantastic news as we have fought for a long time to keep the archives in Wakefield.

“It means we will have a brand new building in which to keep the archives in Wakefield, the seat of the old West Riding.

“Today’s announcement will deliver a further boost to Wakefield, adding yet another important attraction which will encourage even more visitors to our region.

“The records are part of our heritage and history and I am very proud that funding has been secured through the HLF, for this nationally-important collection of information.”

The new building in Kirkgate will also house a history centre and run events and courses designed to connect people with local and family history.

HLF trustee Richard Morris said: “This new archive is needed to ensure they will be stored safely and opened up for public use for many years to come.”