The Croydon Guardian is launching a campaign to ensure the borough’s proud history is not buried as the council considers axing the arts services.

On Monday night the cabinet considered proposals to shut the local studies library, slash the museum exhibitions, cut the summer festival, close the David Lean cinema and cancel all clocktower events, saving between £150,000 and £1.5m.

These moves could see Croydon’s proud 1,000-year history, buried in its darkened archives and forgotten as the borough loses its strong identity.

The council plans, now open to public consultation, include proposals to close down the museum of Croydon, which gets 80,000 visitors a year, leaving only the Riesco collection on permanent display.

The local studies library, which houses Croydon’s priceless historic treasures, has more than 4,000 visitors and up to 2,000 remote enquiries a year. It is already operating on reduced opening hours and could have its hours slashed even further, with a drastic option to close it all together.

Up to 35 staff face losing their jobs.

Tony Newman, Labour group leader, said: “This is barbaric. The message we are sending out by closing our museum and local studies library is that Croydon is shut for business. This will have a huge impact on local history groups and the children of the borough. This is attack on both the past and the future of our borough.”

Gwyneth Fookes, vice president of the Bourne Society, said: “I would like to join the clamour to protect the local studies library. It is a vital historical resource for Croydon – where else is the history of the town recorded, if not in the local studies library? And a place without a history is in no man’s land.”

A number of the borough’s treasures reside in the council’s archives. These illuminate the past detailing visits by archbishops and kings. It contains documents relating to great disasters, such as the Crystal Palace fires, the destruction of the town during two world wars, and its emergence from a market town into a thriving urban centre.

The oldest document in the archives is a land transfer dating from 1291. A land terrier from 1492 is a survey of all the land owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury showing how land in this historic town was organised more than 500 years ago.

The archives are also home to some of the oldest and most iconic photographs of Croydon.

Tell the council how much you treasure our heritage by emailing or write to A and H, 10th Floor, Taberner House, Park Lane CR9 3BT.

Click here to sign our online petition to save our heritage or write to us at Unecol House, 819 London Road, North Cheam SM3 9BN.