September is here and now starting the third month of the Wellcome Trust Allotment project. Progress is going well and I have been getting to know the contents of the collection. The majority of the past month has been arranging the items into something more like the finished catalogue will be. I chose to go through the collection and not rely on the box lists as I suspected that items would appear and throw the reference system out the window. And that is just what happened, within the first forty minutes I found a number of constitutions (for SAGS and SASU) that were not mentioned on the box lists.
As mentioned in the previous post the abundance of visual material in the collection is uncovering hidden gems. Some of those found, straying from the theme of allotments, a number of vintage publications have been found in the collection, such as a guide to the Edinburgh Festival (1952) #FridayFlora of August 21st. Due to this only being sixty three years ago, it definitely falls into copyright, the rule of thumb being life plus 75 years, also illustrations fall to the artist. We managed to display some of these images by editing a composition of a number of images to create an original that can be posted. That problem was easy to overcome, the more difficult question is finding out why it was saved for 63 years by Mr. Webb. Current thoughts suggest the garden shows that were on display are linked to one of the allotment societies, more than likely an Edinburgh based one.
After a meeting with the Archive Services preservation manager, Ela Gorska-Wiklo, we assessed the condition of the material. Over the decades the staples and paperclips have rusted and stained parts of the documents. Using specialist tools these have carefully been removed and the binding on a number of the papers have been replaced with brass fastenings, to reduce corrosion, and ensure safe long term preservation for the papers. The papers are also being repackaged into archive folders that will protect the items stored in a molecular level but also keep them together.
As for the bound volumes of the collections, these are varying in condition, the bound reports from the 1930s and 1940s are in remarkably good condition whereas the bound versions of government legislation (relating to allotments) is well read and shows it. These will be stored in bespoke display boxes that will also double as storage boxes.
A few of the 1930s photographs had the beginning of mould growth, dampness, light and heat, are the three conditions required for it to worsen so isolation was called for. The photographs have been individually packed in Archival Polyester Pockets; these will stop the problem worsening.