DUDLEY’S new archive building got the seal of approval from the borough’s latest freeman – celebrity Lenny Henry.

The comedian and actor was on hand to officially open the Tipton Road centre at a ceremony to celebrate Black Country heritage and history earlier today (Wednesday April 23) .

The Dudley-born star, who was made a freeman of the borough in February last year, joined mayor Cllr Alan Finch to unveil a plaque at the £6m building.

Lenny Henry said: “It’s been lovely to walk around this centre and look at this fantastic facility. This is a wonderful facility and I hope all of Dudley is going to take it on with pride and use it for research.

“It’s serving the whole community and is part of the rejuvenation of Dudley which I really applaud; I want to see Dudley back with a marvelous market place and the zoo being used for its full capacity.”

Lenny took a tour of the new facility which opened to the public earlier this year and joked about an exhibition of items about him.

He said: “There is a whole section with me in it, they could have just walked down to my sister in Brierley Hill and said “have you got anything from Len?” she would have said “take it all – it’s just blocking the stairway”.

“I was blown away, it’s got my old school register.”

Although he has yet to research his own family history at the archives, Lenny said anyone interested in their roots could trace their history through many resources at the centre, including local newspapers, photographs and council records.

He said: “if you don’t know where you are from you don’t know where you are going - it’s important to know where you are from.”