Topping-out ceremony held at The Keep, East Sussex

Topping-out ceremony held at The Keep, East Sussex

A topping-out ceremony has been held at The Keep in Falmer, East Sussex, to herald the completion of the building's roof.

This event, which was held on October 1st, marks another stage in the construction of the £19 million Brighton & Hove and East Sussex historical resource centre.

Representatives from Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and the University of Sussex are working alongside Kier Construction to provide the archive centre.

It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013 and will be the home of thousands of historical resources and documents, some of which will be as many as 900 years old.

The development should achieve a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method of excellent, with Brighton & Hove City Council head of Royal Pavilion and museums Janita Bagshawe remarking that it will be a "state-of-the art building for housing collections".

Items stored in the facility will be able to benefit from "long-term care", allowing future generations to examine them, she added.

Furthermore, the structure will bring a range of collections from all over the region together, providing opportunities that enable learners to work with museum resources and archive materials "for the first time", the council representative stated.

University of Sussex vice-chancellor professor Michael Farthing said the initiative is an "excellent collaboration".

It will enable the Special Collections archive in the university to benefit from conservation and shared archival expertise, he pointed out.

The professor revealed that this collection contains the original manuscripts of Rudyard Kipling and Virginia Woolf, as well as the Mass Observation diaries.

Lead member for community services at East Sussex county council councillor Tony Freebody said: "The public centre will enable people to research their local and family history and provide opportunities for school visits and a wide range of activities and facilities for everyone to use."

Some of the people in attendance at the topping-out ceremony included managing director of Kier Construction Phil Durigan, University of Sussex librarian Kitty Inglis, Brighton & Hove mayor Bill Randall and leader of the county council Chris Dowling.