UK comedian Lenny Henry officially opened a new state-of-the-art community archive centre, the Dudley Archives and Local History Centre, in April. Henry, a freeman of the borough, was taken on a tour of the facilities and shown his own entries, including school records from his childhood.

The 55-year-old, who was born in Dudley, told Worcester News: “There is a whole section with me in it. I was blown away – it’s got my old school register.” “This is a wonderful facility and I hope all of Dudley is going to take it on with pride and use it for research.” The £6m resource centre, jointly funded by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and European Regional Development Fund, is home to some 33,000 items of regional historical importance, including council and local records, maps, photographs and rare books. Dudley Archives features three climate controlled strongrooms, installed with around 6,500m of mobile shelving and cantilever shelving supplied by Bruynzeel Storage Systems.