This important archive and study centre should be protected
11 September, 2020
• AS a former chair of the voluntary local Belsize Conservation Advisory Committee, and resident of beautiful Belsize Park for about 50 years, I heartily support Gillian Tindall’s appeal to the current “powers that be” not to damage Camden’s Local Studies and Archive Centre and library with an over-ambitious and unthought-out “redevelopment”, (‘Save our archive’ plea from historian as scheme is ‘paused’, September 3).
It is, as she says, a wonderful collection of unique documents, maps, books, pictures and objects, all cared for with first class professional skill, telling the history, both grand and humble, of one of London’s most fascinating areas.
Historical archives are among the most under-rated records of city life, so often destroyed as “rubbish” by unthinking people greedy for new developments and pointless novelty.
Some hard-pressed recent councils, perhaps eager to cater for all age groups, jumble up entertainments, cafés, playgrounds, and any other attractions, with libraries which ought by nature to be able to remain quiet and separate for our distinguished historians and researchers of every age.
The well-educated and experienced staff who run the centre and library, with its priceless archive collections of books and documents, ought to be cherished and rewarded with any spare cash that happens to be available rather than it being frittered away into over-ambitious, unnecessary, new developments.