BBC’s cultural archives could be based in new landmark Peterborough hub

An artist's impression of the new leisure and culture hub in Bridge StreetAn artist's impression of the new leisure and culture hub in Bridge Street
An artist's impression of the new leisure and culture hub in Bridge Street
The BBC’s cultural archives could be based in Peterborough.

Talks are currently being held to bring the historic archives into a new library and cultural hub which will replace TK Maxx in Bridge Street - subject to a successful bid from the Government’s Towns Fund.

Pat Carrington, head of City Culture Peterborough, which has taken on arts, culture, heritage and library services in the city, told the Peterborough Telegraph in an exclusive interview that the new hub would “open up a whole new world of possibilities”.

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She added: “It’s how we can use that space for business, for education, for information from libraries, but really to showcase what we do as a city.

“If you’re coming to the city, or you’ve come into the town centre, you will gravitate to it.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had information about Flag Fen, about the cathedral, about the museum - we’ve got that gallery space there so it becomes a central hub where people gravitate to.

“There are a lot of possibilities with that. We’re also having conversations with the BBC about the possibility of having their national cultural archives within our library service. That would be absolutely phenomenal.

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“We believe we would be the first people in the country able to do that, and that would only be possible because of the link to education.

“The BBC are really keen to give access to their cultural archives to the wider public. At the moment it’s only the journalists that can access those.

“The issues are around licensing and copyright, but with that link to education they think they can potentially overcome that. They would want to pilot it with us, and if that works out have conversations with other educational services and libraries across the country.”

An announcement on the Towns Fund bid is expected very soon, and if funding is delivered for the new hub - called The Vine - other plans are already being drawn up on how to use the large space which would also include a re-located Central Library.

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One idea is to introduce T Levels (technical equivalents of A-Levels) and seeing how they can be turned into a pathway linked with the city’s new technical university - ARU Peterborough - which is due to open in 2022.

Ms Carrington, who is also principle of City College Peterborough, explained: “We want to look at doing that through City College as no one else has picked that up in the city.

“Wouldn’t it be great if you are a 16-year-old to come and study a technical qualification in a new iconic building with a pathway to the new university?

“We are talking to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority about that and they’re quite excited. We’re hoping to have a conversation with the university about how we can link in.

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“We want to align T Levels with degrees the university is putting on so we can develop a pathway for young people at 16.”

The aim is to apply early next year with the Department for Education to begin delivering T Levels from 2023.

There is also an ambition to promote a current partnership with the British Library which has a business and intellectual property centre in Central Library in Broadway to support business growth and entrepreneurship.

Ms Carrington added: “It’s not being maximised to its full potential. The centre gives access to lots of market research and databases.

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“We’re appointing a team of people to support and promote this.”

Currently five libraries in Peterborough have re-opened following lockdown with City Culture Peterborough looking at how the others can follow suit.

This is one of a five part interview with Pat Carrington on the future of cultural services in Peterborough. All articles will appear on the Peterborough Telegraph’s website at:

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