The Keep

The Keep logoThe Keep is a world-class centre for archives that opens up access to all the collections of the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO), the Royal Pavilion & Museums Local History Collections and the internationally significant University of Sussex Special Collections. It is also a centre of excellence for conservation and preservation and represents the new generation of archive buildings in the UK.  The combined collections have been brought together to provide, under one roof, an unrivalled, detailed record of the region’s history, dating back over 900 years. These archives document the lives of individuals, places and events from across the county and beyond, and they include written records, maps and plans, prints and drawings, photographs and films, oral histories, and digital and electronic records.

ESRO’s records document life across the county of East Sussex including the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove.  We hold records of many Jewish individuals and organisations including Middle Street Synagogue, the Brighton and Hove Jewish Welfare Board and H Goldberg, funeral director and the historian David Spector.

The University of Sussex Special Collections hold over eighty internationally acclaimed archival, manuscript and rare book collections, mostly relating to 20th and 21st century literary, political and social history.  The largest of these isThe Mass Observation Archive, founded in 1937 by Tom Harrisson, Charles Madge and Humphrey Jennings, to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, using a team of observers and volunteer writers who studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. The original work continued until the early 1950s, and The Mass Observation Project, which was re-launched in 1981, continues today.

The establishment of the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex in 1994 has attracted the deposit of various collections that reflect the study of political, social, literary and intellectual German-Jewish history, in particular the history of Jewish refugees and their families to the United Kingdom during and after the Second World War. Please see below for a list of the collections and brief descriptions of their content.