The Archive, based in the Kirkby Centre, is a collection of distinctive materials from Knowsley's past, including photographs, maps and official documents. It is a great resource for people wanting to trace their family tree or find out more about the history of the borough.
The funding for the three-year project will be used to catalogue and digitise the collections, as well as invest in a dedicated IT system allowing online access to the archive 24/7 for the first time. A community engagement programme is also planned with nine projects taking place over the three years. Schools, the University of the Third Age and special interest groups will all be invited to take part in activities and workshops to collate photography, film, exhibition and oral history projects.
Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Community and Culture, said:
"We're delighted that with the support of local residents our bid to secure a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to develop the Archive Resource for Knowsley has been successful.
"The Archive has already benefited from its move to the Kirkby Centre where it is now housed in a much larger area with improved temperature controlled conditions for the historic documents. The £312,000 HLF grant will allow us to further improve access to the collection by digitising resources so they can be accessed online, 24/7.
"The wealth of the collection will also be further enhanced through a wide range of community projects over the next three years which we hope lots of Knowsley residents will take the opportunity to get involved with and help expand our local history for future generations."
Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said:
"Preserving our historic archives and opening them up to as many people as possible is important as they provide such a valuable resource for anyone wanting to explore their past. Knowsley's Archive, which includes letters from MP for Huyton, Harold Wilson, is bursting with stories and pictures that shed light on what life was once like and how that has shaped local people and the local area as we know it today.