We are pleased to announce the 1918 Absent Voters Lists have now been cleaned and digitised! Here’s how we did it…
The Chesterfield Division Absent Voters List was in particularly bad condition. First we had to take the whole thing apart, so that we could clean and digitise it safely, and prepare it for repairs.
The pages were crudely tied together with string in several places, which was causing damage to edges of the document. Paper clips had been used to attach additional sheets to the document, and had become rusty, causing staining and further damage.
We carefully removed the string and paper clips, and gently detached each individual page from the residue of old glue that was left from the degraded binding.
Each page was given a number so that the original order can be retained throughout the conservation process.
Once the list had been taken apart each individual page was cleaned on both sides using a drafting powder made from tiny pieces of eraser, cotton wool and a soft brush.
After cleaning and dismantling, each page was digitised using our scanner. The digital copies are available to consult here at the Record Office, and the originals are now ready to go the next stage of the conservation process – repairs.