Yesterday, staff and service users of the Lichfield Street Hub in Walsall were delighted to meet HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall, who spent time touring the refurbished facility.
The Lichfield Street Hub, a Grade ll listed Edwardian building formerly known as the Central Library, re-opened its doors in January 2019 on the completion of a sensitive £4.56m renovation.
The Duchess of Cornwall first visited the children’s area to meet toddlers and parents attending a Gruffalo-themed, ‘Tiny Tots’ session. Her Royal Highness was then shown around the Walsall Archives Repository where she saw artefacts such as the oldest Walsall charter, granted to the burgesses of Walsall in the 13th century, as well as images of Walsall from the past, including other Royal visits.
The Duchess then met representatives from the Hub’s diverse range of activities, including the 'Walsall Works' job club and a mindfulness colouring group in the multi-functional space. Her Royal Highness coloured the last part of a drawing the mindfulness group had been working on and this will be framed and put on display.
Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Paul Bott, said:
“I was very proud to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall today, on behalf of the people of Walsall, to our beautifully restored Lichfield Street Hub.”
Councillor Garry Perry, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said:
“The Hub is a facility designed to meet 21st century needs and I hope that the visit of her Royal Highness today will encourage even more of our residents to pay a visit and see what’s on offer.
Natasha Brookes, who attends ‘Tiny Tots’ sessions with her daughter Felicity said:
"It's been very exciting to have the Duchess here today and show off what a wonderful facility we have here in Walsall."
The Royal visit concluded with the Duchess being invited by Councillor Paul Bott, Mayor of Walsall, to declare the Hub officially open by unveiling a plaque.
Note to Editor
Lichfield Street Hub (formerly Walsall Central Library)
• Walsall Council has carried out a major refurbishment of the Central Library which was built in 1905.
• Recognising both the need to invest in a much loved facility and also to shape a libraries service fit for the future – a 21st century information and skills service – Walsall Council took the decision to invest £4.56m into transforming and sensitively renovating the Central Library.
• Lichfield Street Hub Walsall opened its newly restored original Edwardian doors on 28 January 2019.
• The Lichfield Street Hub has since then also welcomed the Borough Archives. This, along with the Local History Centre relocated from its old site in Essex Street.
• The specification for The Hub included detailed requirements for maintaining environmental conditions for the safe preservation of irreplaceable documents in the new Archive, working alongside experts from The National Archive at Kew.
Work with the unemployed
• Since 2012, the Employment and Skills team at Walsall Council has been delivering the ‘Walsall Works’ programme, an award-winning initiative designed to support local people into jobs, apprenticeships and training.
• The team’s core aim is to create economic growth by raising the ambition and aspirations of residents and improving levels of employability.
• Walsall Archives is the Archives and Local Studies Service for Walsall Metropolitan Borough. The collections include records dating back to c.1220 up until the 21st century.
• These are the records of many organisations including Walsall Council and its predecessors, churches, schools, businesses, societies, individuals and organisations.
• There is also a local studies library of books and pamphlets, maps and plans from the 1700s onwards, local newspapers, photographs and illustrations from the 1850s to the present day and recorded memories of local people.
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