The £14,000 archive of Norwich-based lead glaziers G King and Son is on the brink of being sold to the museum after the firm closed down in 2002.On Tuesday, it was reported that arts minister Estelle Morris had stepped in at the 11th hour to put a temporary bar on its export in a bid to give potential British buyers a chance to acquire it.Now, thanks to the publicity, the Norfolk Record Office has stepped in and aims to buy the collection and keep it in Norwich, at the "most up-to-date archive facility in Europe".County archivist John Alban said: "The King archive is a comprehensive and well-organised visual and documentary record of the work of this well-known firm.It can be said, without any doubt, that it is the most important archive for the study and conservation of stained glass in this country. The fact that much of its contents relates to Norfolk and the firm itself was based in Norwich means that the Norfolk Record Office would be its natural home. It is therefore most important that we acquire it."
Dr Alban appealed to local people and organisations to help with financial support to buy the archive which, if a successful bid is not made by September 5, will be sold to the museum in New York.
He said: "We have been aware for some time that the export committee was likely to place a temporary bar on the export of this major archive collection and have already been investigating ways of putting together a funding package to keep it here."
If the record office is successful with its bid, the King archive would be housed in the new Archive Centre, behind County Hall, where it would be held in a high-security repository.
The archive comprises thousands of items, including job files, account books, collections of black and white photographs and glass negatives, and more than 9000 glass rubbings that have passed through the workshop since the firm was founded in 1924.