You may have heard that we recently received funding from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to conserve some of the rare and important lead mining documents we have in our collections.
The lead mining history of Derbyshire is unique – its roots run deep into our local cultural heritage, and its legacy is still visible today in the landscape and traditions of the Peak District. Much of the written material which relates to this important part of our history is held here at the Record Office.
With the help of lead mining researchers we have identified the most important documents which are in need of attention. These documents have been severely damaged by damp and mould, and many of them are falling to pieces, which means they are in no fit state to be handled (or even digitised) and are currently unavailable to researchers. Its up to us to ensure their survival – without vital conservation work they would never be seen, and the information contained within them would be lost forever.
As project conservator on the Mining the Archives project, its my job to carry out the conservation work on the documents. Last week I began the first part of this work – repairing D248: Barmaster’s Lot and Cope account books, 1831-1870.
This item has around 100 loose pages, which were at one time bound together in an account book. Each page has lost its strength through being attacked by damp and mould, so is extremely fragile and there are some areas missing.
Over the coming months I will be busy repairing each of these pages so that they are strong enough to be handled.
Here’s what the first few look like now I’ve repaired them:
In the meantime, if you are interested in Lead Mining history, this project is part of a wider collaboration with the university of Lancaster to raise awareness of and promote research into the subject. On Friday 14th November we will be hosting a forum for sharing ideas and experience in the field of Lead Mining history, chaired by our PHD researcher Matthew Pawelski – why not come along to find out more!
Event: New Perspectives on the Derbyshire Lead Industry
Friday 14th November
2.00pm-5.00pm, Derbyshire Record Office (New Street, Matlock)
This event is free but you will need to book a place – please give us a call on 01629 538347