Historic post axed in savings quest

COST cutting councillors have axed a prestigious and historic post as they try to save millions of taxpayers' money.A decision by Essex County Council to end the 65-year-old role of the county archivist was made behind closed doors earlier this month.

COST cutting councillors have axed a prestigious and historic post as they try to save millions of taxpayers' money.

A decision by Essex County Council to end the 65-year-old role of the county archivist was made behind closed doors earlier this month.

However, the council has denied it was turning its back on its own heritage and said there would be a strong service remaining at the Essex Records Office in Chelmsford.

The county had previously developed a reputation within the field of archive research with services to teach schools about local history.


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An on-line list of all the county's archives is also available.

The move came as councillors try to make budget cuts because of fears that a short fall of central funding could lead to pressures to hike council taxes further next year.

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Tracey Chapman, portfolio holder for environment and culture at the council, said it was part of the cuts agreed by cabinet members.

She said: "We have been asked to find £1 million pounds of savings and it is true that the post of county archivist will be going.

"We will try and maintain the ability to preserve and maintain the heritage of Essex to the same high standards we always have done."

She added the decision was ultimately about prudence and preventing financial problems next year.

The Essex Record Office was completed in March 2000 and is one of the most advanced in the country.

It is understood the office's lecture theatre and bookshop will be handed over to the private sector as part of the changes.

The county archivist, also held the honorary title of "Keeper of the County's records and was an honorary officer of the Diocese of Chelmsford.

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