STAFF from the borough's archives and local history service have been working hard to get Dudley's state-of-the-art new archives centre ready for opening in January.

Based in Tipton Road, Dudley, the purpose-built eco-friendly facility which replaces the old Coseley Archives is set to open its doors to the public on Tuesday January 14 .

A team of 22 volunteers were recruited to help with the mammoth task of packaging, cataloguing and moving over two miles worth of archive material from the old site to the new centre.

The process which needed to be undertaken extremely carefully as many of precious documents are fragile and cannot be exposed to light, is now almost complete and a state-of-the-art strong room now holds all of the archives in optimum, temperature controlled conditions.

The new centre, which has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the major redevelopment of Dudley's Castle Hill area, comprises up-to-the-minute IT and public Wi-Fi services, learning and conference rooms, a local studies library, research area, large and airy search room and free public car parking.

Councillor Stuart Turner, Dudley's cabinet member responsible for archives said: “Its great that our new archives and local history centre is now complete. It really is looking fantastic and will represent a great resource for the people of Dudley borough.

“The staff have worked really hard to get everything moved into the centre – a hugely challenging task. We are looking forward now to the public opening in January and hope people will come along and have a look at all that that the centre will have on offer."

The centre will be open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, except Thursdays when it will open at 9.30am until 7pm.

Tours can be arranged once it opens its doors. To book call 01384 815568.