Posted by: kbenoy | November 2, 2011

Conservation of Benjamin Walters records

As I said last week, the Benjamin Walters papers are now almost fully catalogued. To make these records usable, some required conservation work by Jon the Conservator.

First was the Sales Day Book (D-SSW/2/BW/5/1). This book is interesting as it contains details of the day-to-day sales of the lock manufactuers and who their customers were. This book is labelled B&W, which is thought to mean Birmingham & Wolverhampton Sales.

Page from the Sales Day Book D-SSW/2/BW/5/1

As seen in my blog last week, this ledger was in a poor state with the cover being damaged, tatty and loose with significant damage to the corners.

The Sales Day Book with the damaged corner

To make it more stable and ready for use, Jon repaired the corners by gluing the split sections of the board back together and clamped to dry.

The Sales Day Book having the corner repaired

The Sales Day Book having the corner clamped

Jon also consolidated the leather to make it less fragile and prevent further damage and reattached the side label, which had come away from the spine.

The Sales Day Book during Conservation

 

The Sales Day Book after Conservation

The second part of the Benjamin Walters records that required conservation were the letters to Australia about the sale of locks for the railways. 

Correspondence relating to sales of locks in Australia before Conservation

 
These were bundled and folded in the box and difficult to use so Jon carefully unfolded them, maintaining their orginal bundles, and flattened them out by making them very slight damp and using weights to hold them in the correct position.
 

Correspondence relating to sales of locks in Australia after Conservation

The correspondence will be catalogued then packaged in the bundles into archival folders and tied up with archive tape.

The last item identified as requiring conservation work from the Benjamin Walters records was the Book of Registered Debentures D-SSW/2/BW/1/2/6. This volume had come away from the spine and needed to be reattached.

Book of Registered Debentures D-SSW/2/BW/1/2/6 before conservation

Jon took the volume and carefully glued the text block to the spine. He prepared the spine to make sure it was ready to be reattached to the text block. 

Book of Registered Debentures having the spine glued

 

Book of Registered Debentures having the spine glued

 

He then placed the text block in the correct position and clamped it together so it would dry correctly.

Book of Registered Debentures clamped as the glue dried

This conservation work has made each of these items more stable and ready for use by the public. Conservation will continue in this project, in line with cataloguing to ensure that the Smith, Son & Wilkie collection is ready for use when the catalogue is finished.

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