We need to be ready to rescue collections before they are destroyed, often without much warning. A mad dash up the motorway in a hired van was required to save the Gelder and Kitchen Collection from a damp basement in Hull. We salvaged 600 important architectural files, dating from 1890. All the documents were in poor condition and many were mouldy. We needed to do a lot of work before we could share them with the public. This sort of exercise comes with a hefty price tag!
The items we rescue and protect include some extraordinary treasures, such as diaries, the deeds of old mills; architectural drawings, plans and sketches; maps; letters; newspaper cuttings; photographs and paintings; and rare books on milling.
So many of these precious materials arrive damaged – stained, torn, discoloured, mouldy, faded or even partially eaten by pests. Just cleaning a document, using brushes, latex sponges or specialist equipment such as a conservation vacuum, can take hours. This painstaking work, carried out by our archivist and volunteers, and sometimes by a specialist conservator, is crucial so these items can be enjoyed by you and by future generations.
The meticulous art of conservation and the heroic emergency rescue mission both cost money. Help us to continue with these essential tasks and allow us to rescue, repair and share more valuable milling records.