To make sure that our precious records remain in good condition for years to come, we need to store them safely and protect them from damage. That’s no mean feat when you consider how much material we have. We are responsible for protecting over three million precious images and documents! It costs us around £4,000 a year to keep them all safe.
Storing them all takes up over 40 cubic metres of space. These items are not only irreplaceable, but they are fragile and vulnerable. It is our duty to protect them from damage by bugs and other pests, from damp and from extreme temperature conditions. Our “crown jewels” are stored in specially designed packaging.
Architectural drawings, for example, are carefully laid flat in large plan chests. Our storerooms are maintained at constant temperature and humidity levels, which we monitor by computer, and we set traps for bugs (really!). All these essential activities cost money.
Can you imagine the loss to our shared history if our archives were irreparably damaged or destroyed? Flooding, either because of a burst pipe or from the water used to put out a fire, is the worst danger posed to our precious collections.
To mitigate against such an awful prospect, we have developed a Disaster Plan and we rehearse the necessary steps to manage an emergency. A dedicated recovery organisation in Harwell is contantly on call to help us rescue our records should such a major calamity occur. We hope such things will never happen, but we have to be prepared. And these preparations cost money.
Please help us ensure that the treasures from our archives can be stored safely, and protected from harm, so that the next generation of mill enthusiasts can enjoy them.
To preserve our milling history for future generations, we need to look after our precious records and protect them from damage caused by extremes of temperature or humidity, damp conditions, flooding and pests. See how you can support this vital activity: