New Hartlepool local history centre opens its doors featuring thousands of photographs, maps and parish registers dating back to 1500s
and live on Freeview channel 276
The Local and Family History Centre in Sir William Gray House in Clarence Road houses an extensive selection of local and family history resources previously held in storage at Community Hub Central in York Road.
It received the civic seal of approval when the town’s Ceremonial Mayor Councillor Brian Cowie cut the ribbon to formally open the centre this week.
Cllr Cowie, who was joined at the occasion by the Mayoress Councillor Veronica Nicholson, said: “I’m delighted to formally open the Local and Family History Centre.
“For many years the Local and Family History Service was in a small area of Community Hub Central.
"But now that it has its own dedicated space in Sir William Gray House its huge range of historical documents and resources is much easier for people to access.
“It opens the door to a fascinating journey of discovery for Hartlepool residents and, indeed, anyone interested in the town’s history.”
Resources include maps showing how the town has grown over the years, electoral rolls, and an extensive collection of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool parish births, marriage and death registers dating back to the 1500s.
There are also thousands of photographs plus Ward Trade Directories – the ‘yellow pages’ of yesteryear – and the Hartlepool Mail on microfilm dating back to 1878.
The centre is free to use, and Hartlepool Libraries members can also use its computers to access online resources such as Ancestry, Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive.
Friendly, expert staff will be on hand to help and advise.
Cllr Cowie added: “Looking ahead, the centre staff are also looking to expand the service even further to provide workshops and talks to residents, groups and schools.
“Last but not least it also means that residents once again have access to this fantastic building, which has not been open to the public since the closure of the Gray Museum and Art Gallery in 1994.”
The Local and Family History Centre is open Mondays to Thursdays between 10am and 3pm and no appointment is necessary.
For more information call (01429) 523422 or email [email protected]