East Sussex County Council relocate it

East Sussex County Council

Government and Council

Pickfords helped East Sussex Council to relocate its record store from Hailsham to Eastbourne.

Project Type

Records Relocation


East Sussex County Council’s Records Management Service (RMS) is responsible for the collection, preservation, and in some cases disposal, of its regional records. 


East Sussex Council needed to relocate its records store from Hailsham to a new facility in Eastbourne.

The move would include the relocation of 50,000 archive boxes that needed to be moved in sequential order to maintain the integrity of the collection. The archive was being stored in mobile racking that rose to a height of 4m and fixed static racking attached to the perimeter walls.

One bay of the mobile racking would relocate, but all remaining racking would be brand new. Other items moving included office furniture and mobile elevating platforms, which the library staff used to reach the higher shelves.


Following an extensive survey, Pickfords in conjunction with the Council and their racking contractor agreed on a detailed move programme for the relocation, so that safe working practices could be maintained while both external companies were working in the same area.

Pickfords palletized the first 5,000 books to free up the existing mobile racking unit that was transferring and spilt the remaining boxes into five 10,000 box sections. These were then relocated and re-shelved section by section over 10 working days (weekdays), utilising Pickfords’ local labour and resource while being managed at all times by Pickfords’ Archive Solution Specialist.


Pickfords encountered a few challenges during the project which were resolved by effective liaison with the other contractors on site. Some examples are shown here;

  • There were some initial delays with the project starting due to some delayed building works, but Pickfords agreed to delay the start dates and reorganised the programme to suit the council.

  • Shelves were incorrectly pitched on the 2nd mobile racking unit to be filled, which would have delayed the project waiting for the racking company to re-shelve, so Pickfords used fitters to re-shelve the whole unit of 25 bays with 14 shelves each so that work would not stop.

  • The shelves in the new mobile racking were also smaller than the original racking. This meant that all the boxes would not fit per shelf. Pickfords’ Archive Specialist worked with the Council project team to recount all the boxes, and instead of five boxes going on a shelf, four were placed, to ensure the integrity of the archive.

Approach to health and safety in a 'live environment' 

All Pickfords staff allocated to this project were fully aware of and complied with the site rules of the Council for contractors working on-site, including; Health & Safety, COVID-19 regulations, alarms, fire precautions, and entry and exit points from each site.


Pickfords finished the project on time, even catching up on the delay of the re-shelving and finished the contract under budget as costs were saved on cages not used.

The council was delighted with the team’s work effort and skill in carrying out the task. In particular, they commented that the Pickfords Archive Specialist had done such a good job, that they wanted him to stay on as his knowledge of all box locations was exceptional.

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