About 350,000 historical items will be unavailable for up to eight months as their old home closes.

The artefacts are being transferred from the Brighton History Centre, Royal Pavilion Gardens, to a new building, The Keep in Moulsecoomb.

In preparation for the move, the centre will close its doors to visitors from April 1.

But budding historians will have to wait until late into the year to see the pieces as The Keep does not open until late 2013.

Items moving from Brighton History Centre include local history ephemera, photographs, glass plate negatives and lantern slides, oral history recordings and topographical prints, newspapers, microfilms, and some rare books.

Once opened, it is hoped the new facility will offer state of the art storage for archives and excellent visitor facilities, according to the council.

In response to the Brighton History Centre closing, the local authority has vowed to improve the Jubilee Library to retain a historical resource in the city centre.

Online access

The enhanced service for Jubilee Library will see the Tony Miller Reading Room adapted to be a quiet study area with a focus on local and family history as well as rare books.

The council is installing two additional public access PCs in the room and a further two adjacent to it.

There will also be online access to an expanded range of digitised local history resources and an additional public access reference collection of important local and family history books and periodicals.

The council said it intends to keep the Brighton History Centre space in public use for displays but it is unlikely to reopen until early 2014.

History enthusiasts

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of Brighton and Hove’s economic development and culture committee, said: “Brighton and Hove City Council is proud to be one of the partners in the development of The Keep, which is an outstanding resource for the city.

“Preparations for the collections to move to the new building have been underway for some time, but this spring and summer is a critically important and intensive period for the packing, transfer and installation of material.

“During this period local and family history enthusiasts will be able to make use of the Jubilee Library’s resources in the city centre.

“Brighton History Centre is much-loved and I’m thrilled that its important collections have a new home in the fitting location of this 21st century public facility.”