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The Keep Archive Centre

Making History: Dagenham Firm LBS Group Completes Work on The Keep Archive Centre in Brighton

Dagenham-based LBS Group is pleased to have provided Fire Resistant and High Security doors for The Keep archive and historical resource centre in Brighton, opened by Her Majesty the Queen.

With an overall budget of £19 million, part-funded by the East Sussex County Council, The Keep replaced the former East Sussex Record Office.

The Keep gives the public access to the Special Collections held by the nearby University of Sussex, as well as over 900 years of records about the local county. Stored within its archives are rare and valuable artefacts, such as a letter to the Abbot of Battle Abbey dating from 1101 and bearing King Henry I’s seal. Such precious and irreplaceable contents demand first-rate defence, and LBS answered with bespoke Fire Resistant and High Security Doors.

The sensitive nature of the material in the archives meant that the Keep required two-fold defence: the doors provide up to 4 hours’ protection from fire and are resistant to prolonged attack from even the most sophisticated power tools.

LBS Group also installed hydraulic operating systems to compensate for the extra weight afforded by the superior protection of the doors.

“We were very privileged to have worked on a building so central to the history of the county of Essex,” said Mike Palmer of LBS GROUP. “The bespoke doors we provided will help to ensure that the local records are preserved for many years to come.”

The project was not without its obstacles: for the local council, the pressure was on to find a suitable replacement for the East Sussex Record Office when the former building was declared ‘not fit for purpose’ in the second of two unfavourable inspections by the National Archives in 2003 and 2006. On top of this, funds fell short of the £23.6 million target following an unsuccessful Lottery bid in 2008. However, the new site in the Moulsecoomb area of Brighton and Hove was decided in 2007, with Kier Southern as the chosen contractor and the new budget set at £19,142,000, of which £180,000 was set aside to pay for specialist doors..

Having provided The Keep with state-of-the-art Fire Resistant and High Security doors, LBS Group hope to ensure the 900-year old contents will be safe for many years to come.