THE National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded a grant of £7.3 million to help fund the delivery of a new building for the North East Wales Archives (NEWA).

With match contributions of £2m from Denbighshire County Council and £3m from Flintshire County Council, this will allow NEWA to move from its current branches in Ruthin and Hawarden to future proof the region’s historic records in a purpose-built net carbon zero building.

The new archives centre will be situated in Mold next to the Theatr Clwyd building which is currently being renovated.  

It will contain an exhibition space for co-created displays, learning spaces for creative activities, a digital lab and separate research rooms for researchers and explorers, as well as a state-of-the-art conservation studio, collections handling areas and storage areas, all adhering to industry standards.

Liz Grieve, Head of Housing and Communities Service at Denbighshire County Council said: “Local Authorities have a statutory duty to maintain an archive, and the current facilities are not fit for purpose.

"The decision to approve the project was made in principle in October 2023 and took into consideration the financial challenges facing the Council. That decision considered a range of options and concluded there was not a ‘no cost’ or a ‘low cost’ option.

“This collaborative approach with Flintshire County Council offers the best value for money and ensures that we can take advantage of the funding from the Heritage Fund that might not otherwise be available to secure this long-term solution.

"It will also mean that our staff can deliver an improved service and will be able to better engage with the community in North Wales.”

Claire Homard, Chief Officer for Education and Youth in Flintshire said: “The successful project, called ‘Creative Archives’, will transform the way NEWA works giving local communities greater access to collections and providing opportunities for staff to interact with the public to celebrate their personal and communities’ histories.

"The project also includes an improved outreach and digital programme to extend access to the archives across the region and further afield as well as creating more spaces for research, performances, and exhibitions.”

Andrew White, Director for The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said, “Projects such as this highlight how funding from the Heritage Fund can be used not only to preserve our heritage and history but turn it into an exciting vision that will impact the lives of future generations. 

“It’s thanks in no small part to players of The National Lottery that we’re able to enjoy seeing projects like the Creative Archives flourish and provide communities with a hub for creative and educational spaces.”

There will continue to be a smaller Archive presence in Ruthin, and the relocation of NEWA releases space at Ruthin Gaol to allow for the development of an enhanced visitor experience which will increase footfall and income.

The new archive centre is expected to open in late 2027.