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Archive preservation and conservation policy

Date updated: 7/17/2020

 

Introduction

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) aims to preserve its rich collections for the use and benefit of present and future generations, by developing preservation and conservation policies and practices consistent with its values and goals, whilst ensuring that the highest standards of conservation are maintained and codes of ethics adhered to.

The Greater London Record Office was formed in 1965, when the Greater London Council (GLC) was set up, by uniting the record offices of the London County Council (LCC) and the Middlesex County Council (MCC). Its Library was formerly a reference library for members of the LCC. The Common Council of the City of London Corporation assumed responsibility for the service on 1 April 1986, upon the abolition of the GLC, and the service changed its name to London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) in 1997.

The Corporation of London Records Office (CLRO) was the archive responsible for holding the departmental and organisational records of the City of London Corporation. It became part of LMA in 2003. Guildhall Library Manuscripts began as a collection of individual manuscripts and small collections of City of London interest in 1828 when Guildhall Library was refounded. Since 1945 it has acted as the local record office for the City of London, the “Square Mile”, excluding the records of the City of London Corporation. It merged with LMA in 2007.

At LMA, as well as storage facilities, there is the full range of consultation facilities, conservation support, reprographics services and spacious areas for research and study.

LMA is an Accredited Archive Service demonstrating that it has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing, the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users.

The archives held by LMA are the primary source for historical information on London and its citizens. LMA holds records relating to the work of successive local government bodies; from the Middlesex Justices of the Peace in the 16th century, and the historic Commissions of Sewers; to the records of the GLC and the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) and the Greater London Authority (GLA).

The earliest City of London records include charters dating from 1067-1957, and custumals from the 13th century; administrative records of the government of the City (1275 to date) including judicial records from the 13th century, and financial records, dating back as far as 1381. In addition, there are architectural plans and drawings of City bridges, markets, prisons, civic buildings and admissions to the freedom of the City of London from 1681 onwards. Deposited records of the City include the archives of the wards and most of the City livery companies, and several organisations which originated in the City such as Christ’s Hospital and the Corporation of Trinity House.

A wide variety of organisations continue to pass their records to LMA for safe keeping. These include the Diocese of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, over 800 Church of England parishes in the London area, non-conformist churches and Jewish organisations, as well as courts, hospitals, prisons, charities and businesses. The archive holdings are complemented by the photographic collection which consists of over two million images, the reference library of over 100,000 books, a collection of 1,500 artefacts including a number of architectural models, and the map and print holdings consisting of 10,000 printed maps, 40,000 prints and one million plans.

Housing, transportation, migration, health, education, crime, business and commerce, and architecture are all key themes reflected by the documentary sources. LMA maintains around 100 kilometres of archives, making it the largest local authority record office in the United Kingdom. The acquisitions policy of LMA is outlined in our Collections Acquisition and Management policy

The History of London Collection at LMA is designated as an outstanding collection by the Arts Council.

The Archive Preservation and Conservation Policy aims to provide a comprehensive statement of intent regarding the care of the archive and library collections in LMA. The policy outlines the aims and objectives for the Conservation team, current provision, and the strategic development of the team. 

NB. This policy does not directly relate to Guildhall Art Gallery (GAG) which has its own team of trained and experienced paintings and frames conservators who care for the works of art in GAG’s collection, and are responsible for the preservation and conservation of the collections at Keats House. However, there is co-operation and sharing of relevant knowledge between the two studios. For example, the LMA team provide expertise on works on paper at GAG and in the Keats House collection and at Guildhall Library.

  • To preserve the holdings of LMA for current and future access
  • To ensure that the highest standards of conservation are maintained and codes of ethics adhered to
  • To provide and maintain documentation systems designed both for conservation and preservation
  • To raise preservation awareness amongst staff and users, through training, display, policy development and service liaison
  • To advise staff, users and others on preservation matters that relate to the care of collections at LMA
  • To enhance long-term access through the use of surrogate copies when appropriate
  • To develop preservation/conservation policies and practices consistent with the values and goals of LMA
  • To contribute to the development of regional and national preservation and conservation policies and practices

Collections Acquisition and Management policy

  • LMA recognises the importance of a commitment to the preservation of its collections in its Collections Acquisition and Management policy.

LMA’s archive Collections Acquisition and Management policy states that it will ‘develop, maintain and apply a comprehensive preservation and conservation philosophy in keeping with best current practice nationally and internationally, and provide a fully equipped conservation studio [hereafter referred to as the Studio] for the conservation of archives, maps, prints and books and audio-visual material.’ The Collections Acquisition and Management policy clearly indicates the remit of the archives service and the Preservation and Conservation Policy responds to these stated priorities.

Management of preservation

  • LMA recognises the importance of having clear lines of responsibility for preservation matters to a senior management level.

The Head of Collections supported by the Studio Manager is responsible for preservation management. Conservation Management Group meetings are held six-weekly and chaired by the Director of LMA. Preservation issues concerning other areas of the archive, such as Public Services, Repository Planning and Building Management are dealt with through liaison with the appropriate Assistant Director or other manager.

All the activities are carried out based on risks assessments in order to find a balance between accessibility and preservation.

Service liaison

  • LMA encourages communication between Conservation and the rest of the archive service.

Staff working in the reading rooms are encouraged to consult Conservation staff on any issue that might require specialist knowledge. Specific projects or programmes, such as re-packaging during cataloguing, have a specified conservator as the first point of contact. Other issues, like the provision of weights and book supports for the reading rooms, are dealt with by Conservation staff as required.

Every week a dedicated conservator is available to resolve quickly issues related to handling and safe access to collection items produced in the Archive Study Area. A calendar with the name of the conservator on duty is sent to all staff working in the public areas for reference.

Staff training in handling and preservation awareness

  • LMA recognises the benefit of having staff that are trained in preservation awareness.

LMA requires all staff to attend a document handling training session within two weeks, and an introduction to Conservation within eight weeks, of beginning work. Requirements for further staff training on conservation and preservation matters are assessed and provided in-house, as appropriate.

Staff and users are encouraged to alert Conservation when an item is damaged to the point where further handling could deteriorate even more its condition . An alert form is completed and left on a dedicated shelf in the strong room along with the item. Conservation assesses the condition of the item and decides whether it is still available for access or can be viewed under supervision (see also under Assessment of collections and prioritisation below).

Buildings as safe storage

  • LMA recognises the vital role the buildings play in keeping material dry, secure, well-ventilated, buffered from the outdoor environment and generally stored safely.

Two large buildings are maintained on the LMA site, and three strong rooms on two sites at Guildhall used for the storage of archive material.

The LMA Extension has a floor area of 2494 square metres and conforms to BS EN 16893:2018 Conservation of Cultural Heritage-Specifications for location, constructions and modification of buildings or rooms intended for the storage or use of heritage collections. The LMA Main Building is a converted light industrial facility dating from the 1930s. It has a floor area of 7894 square metres consisting of a basement, ground, first and second floors, and some rooms at roof level. The first floor houses the public access areas and the majority of staff working areas. The building is of robust concrete construction and the floors of each storage area can safely support the load.

On the Guildhall site, there is one storage area beneath Guildhall Library and two underneath Guildhall Art Gallery, on the other side of Guildhall Yard from the Library. In total, these comprise approximately 10,550 linear metres of shelving. Guildhall Library was purpose-built as a Library in 1974 and the archive storage areas were upgraded to meet BS5454:2000 standards in 2003. The new Guildhall Art Gallery was opened in 1999 and the archive stores were purpose-built to conform to BS5454:2000 standards. Both Guildhall Library and Guildhall Art Gallery are freehold property of the City of London.

The interior and exterior of all buildings are maintained by City Surveyors at Guildhall, in consultation with LMA’s Head of Access and Buildings. There is a 20 year planned maintenance programme in place for major refurbishing and routine maintenance, managed by Surveyors. There are dedicated specialists within Surveyors who deal with the maintenance of heating and ventilation, structural engineering and electrical works. Contractors are retained on standby for emergency callout as well as routine repairs. LMA has a Buildings Management Plan which gives an overall and room by room analysis for future improvements and preservation issues relating to buildings management and these are dealt with in consultation with the Studio Manager.

LMA was designated as an Accredited Archive Service in May 2014. The assessment was based upon PD5454 which is now superseded by BS 4971:2017 and BS EN 16893:2018. LMA will reapply for accreditation in 2020.

Security

  • LMA recognises the important role that security plays in ensuring the safe deposit of material.

Public access into the archive buildings is monitored and public use areas are closely supervised by staff. Access to storage areas is restricted to archive staff and other authorised persons by security swipe cards (and keys on the Guildhall Library site). The LMA extension is entered via a walkway from the second floor of the converted building; the only other access points are fire exits at ground level and a delivery bay at first floor level which can only be opened from the inside.

All entry points are secure and strict closing procedures are enforced. All buildings, both exterior and interior, are monitored by CCTV. There are fire detection systems linked to 24-hour monitoring services and fire stations. Intruder alarms are connected to appropriate police stations. Buildings on the Guildhall site are monitored and patrolled by City of London security 24 hours a day.

The City of London's Security Advisor conducts a regular building security review.

Environmental monitoring and control

  • LMA recognises that environmental factors, temperature, relative humidity (RH), light, and atmospheric and particulate pollutants, can cause degradation reactions in archive, library and museum objects.

The first step in controlling and stabilising the environment in a building is to monitor, record and assess existing conditions.

Temperature and relative humidity (RH)

The LMA Extension has a Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system monitored and controlled by the City Surveyors Department at Guildhall. The system aims to maintain conditions at a fixed point between 14°C and 19°C  with a tolerance of 1°C on either side. LMA staff monitor the relative humidity with the aim of keeping the conditions between 40% and 55% RH with a tolerance of 5% on either side.

The LMA Main Building is largely unheated, radiators are removed or turned off and heated radiators operate only where staff and /or public use is constant. Some discrete areas are controlled by air cooling.

The air conditioning in all storage areas in Guildhall Library was upgraded in 2003 to meet BS 5454:2000 standards. The air-conditioning in Guildhall Art Gallery is part of a central Building Management System operated by Surveyors.

All sites are monitored by Meaco radio telemetry systems which track temperature and RH, this enables detailed data to be collected and analysed.

LMA aims to provide a stable environment for its collections and to continue to improve the buildings.

Light

Overall exposure to light in storage areas is kept to a minimum.

The LMA Extension has no windows and the Main Building has limited window areas. The storage areas at Guildhall have no windows. Windows in public use and staff working areas have a layer of protective ultraviolet (UV) film. Artificial lighting consists of fluorescent tube lighting fitted with UV filters and automatic time switch mechanisms.

Air-borne pollution

Air-borne pollution is filtered where possible through Air Handling Unit (AHU) carbon filters.

Pest management 

  • LMA recognises that considerable damage can be caused by insects, rodents and birds both to buildings and to their contents.

All storage areas are monitored for pests with sticky traps and a quarterly 'Bug Hunt'. There are regular assessments of the buildings to look for rodent damage and remove pigeon debris. Sticky traps are placed along the perimeter of the room. They are logged on a map and replaced every three months. Insects are counted and identified for each trap and recorded on a spreadsheet.

All new acquisitions entering the archive are put in a dedicated room (called the acquisitions room) for inspection by a conservator. The conservator checks each item for active/passive mould and insect infestation. If mould/insect activity is observed the items are sent to Harwell for treatment. Dry mould and dead insects are brushed/ sponged away by a conservator. Very dirty items are also dry cleaned to reduce the possible presence of mould spores. For large acquisitions that cannot decant in the new acquisitions room for space reasons an offsite visit is made to assess the overall condition of the collection. If the assessment is positive and no mould and insect activity is found, items are may be moved straight into the strong rooms.

Items for commercial storage are also checked against mould and insect activity as this material shares the same space in the strong rooms as the archive collections. If mould and insect infestation is found the items for commercial storage are not accepted.

Housekeeping

  • LMA recognises the importance of a regular programme of cleaning, undertaken with care and supervision.

All storage and working areas are routinely cleaned using methods to reduce unnecessary movement of dust. Within the archive storage areas the Services Assistants are required to maintain the storage areas in a tidy and safe condition. Each strong room is cleaned twice a year. Targeted cleaning of items in situ by conservators is also carried out.

Storage furniture

  • LMA recognises that well-organised, appropriate storage facilities will help to reduce damage to collections.

The LMA Extension and Main Building, and the storage areas at Guildhall, provide over 100 kilometres of mobile and static shelving most of which conforms to BS 4971:2017. Shelving work is co-ordinated by the Repository Management Group on an office wide basis. The mobile shelving is checked and faults rectified annually.

LMA is committed to the overall objective of storage by format. This has a significant preservation benefit as it allows the needs of particular types and formats of material to be identified and addressed.

LMA has provision for storage of materials in the form of rolls, oversize volumes and boxes, paintings and artefacts and takes the opportunity to re-locate specialist materials and store them in discrete areas. It also seeks to improve shelving in dedicated areas such as the Library Store and Plan Storage Rooms on the second floor of LMA and at Guildhall Library. LMA has also installed high security areas for iconic archives.

There are separate guidelines for film and video storage.

Packaging

  • LMA encourages the use of appropriate packaging materials to protect archive, library and museum objects.

Stocks of standard archival boxes are available for use by staff and specialist enclosures are ordered as required. The Repository Management Group co-ordinates this activity on an office wide basis. LMA also has an in-house Kasemake box making machine managed by the Conservation Studio Manager. Protective enclosures are there to:

  • Limit damage from handling
  • Provide the appropriate storage environment, e.g. buffered folders, sulphur free photographic envelopes
  • Offer protection from neighbouring objects
  • Reduce fire, smoke and water damage
  • Keep light and dust away from the item
  • Act as a buffer against fluctuations in the environment and against atmospheric pollution

There are guidelines that explain how to use all the standard packaging available for staff. There are separate guidelines for conservators about bespoke packaging designs that can be produced using the Kasemake box making machine.

The guidelines for film and video storage include packaging.

Handling and transportation

  • LMA encourages proper handling of collections by staff and users.

Conservation provides training to all staff, and runs handling sessions for users and volunteers. There are separate illustrated handling guidelines for both staff and users. Trolleys, including specialist trolleys for oversize flat items and rolls, and folders are available to staff for transportation of items within the buildings. Procedures have been developed to ensure that material in transit, between buildings or on loan are well protected and carefully handled. There are illustrated staff guidelines for loading trolleys. Book supports, cotton gloves and appropriate light weights are supplied to staff and public with staff guidance. Iconic archives may only be viewed in the Studio under strict staff supervision.

Prior to commencing any work which requires them to handle original documents, all staff of commercial digitisation companies such as Ancestry, or other digitisation projects must complete document handling training with Conservation staff and are issued with handling guidelines. There are separate guidelines for film and video handling.

Exhibitions and loans

  • LMA recognises both the benefits and the risks of exhibiting original material.

There is a programme of temporary displays at all sites. Displays run for four to six months and the display of original material is kept to a minimum. To minimise the risks to items too vulnerable for display a facsimile is produced to substitute for the original.

Conservation staff inspect items, advise on materials and formats for display and carry out minor treatments if necessary. Loans are assessed and where necessary conservation staff courier items. The guidelines and paperwork for exhibitions and loans are periodically updated. There is a separate Exhibitions and Display Loans policy.

Increasingly, television and film companies are using archive materials as primary or background sources and archives service has contributed to several programmes in recent years. The archive has strict rules on procedures when dealing with such companies and they are at all times supervised by staff. If an individual item is requested for filming, Conservation staff are required to supervise and advise on handling procedures.

Digital Services

  • LMA supports the use of surrogate copies in place of fragile original material, with the understanding that long-term surrogate copies must be of archival standard in order to be classed preservation copies.

The Digital Services unit provides both access copies and preservation surrogates. Access copies can be photocopies, photographs, digital scans, microprints, high resolution bromide prints or microfilms. Preservation copies were formerly produced exclusively by microfilming, but have been superseded by digitisation.

Digital imaging:

The digitisation of documentary materials – including media that may be printed, written, drawn, painted or filmed - offers an extraordinary opportunity both to expand access to sources of information and to create surrogates of fragile originals. LMA actively pursues opportunities to digitise its important historic collections primarily to increase and promote access. A variety of business models, with or without commercial and other partners, may be used according to the nature of particular collections and the opportunities available.

In-house, digital prints are produced for users and are delivered as dye sub prints, pictography prints, plain paper prints (ie scans or photocopies), CDs, DVDs, FTPs and email.

Photocopying

While recognising that photocopying can be a major source of damage to bound material, there is a restricted service available to the public at LMA using an edge platen book copier. This service is only allowed for open access library material and no archive documents or 'At Risk' items are available for self-service copying. Users are required to read the Copying guidelines which include instructions for the safe copying of printed books and staff inspect each item prior to copying. 

Photocopying orders are carried out by Image and Media staff and material is normally restricted to extracts of published books and sound single sheet documents.

Microfilming

Preservation microfilming has been superseded by digitisation. However, LMA still offers a microfilm copying service. Copy films are available in two formats: Silver positive film produces a positive output (black text on a white background) and has approximately 500 years archival life if stored to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards; Diazo film produces a negative output (white text on a black background) and has approximately 50 years archival life dependant on usage. Both copying mediums are supplied on archival quality 35 mm films.

All items for digitisation are fit for purpose. The conservation team run surveys and repair the items in such a way that they can be safely digitised. 

The conservation team also advise on how to best digitise an item to minimise the damage during imaging.

Emergency planning and response

  • LMA recognises that advance planning, training and up-to-date reaction plans are crucial to effective responses in a fire, flood or other emergency situation.

LMA has up-to-date Emergency Planning, Incident and Fire Evacuation Directives. Two copies of a confidential Managers Emergency Pack are provided to each team leader and to the duty manager, one copy of which is kept at home. All buildings have a fire certificate. The City of London Security and Contingency Planning Group is responsible for co-ordinating major incidents.

The LMA Extension has VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) early warning smoke detector system and water sprinklers. The Main Building has a fire detection system comprising of smoke detectors and sprinklers locally activated by heat (there are flow switches within the system). There are flood detection devices located on the roof in the Extension, in the basement of the Main Building and in the base of each lift shaft connected to the central monitoring station along with the fire alarms. Supplies of emergency equipment are located strategically in all areas.

The salvage equipment is checked every year and replaced if necessary.

The Guildhall storage areas have smoke alarms throughout, monitored 24 hours a day. 60% of the storage area is equipped with automatic fire extinguishing systems. The power supply to all storage areas can be isolated. Water sensors are fitted throughout, as is emergency drainage. There are supplies of emergency equipment in each area.

LMA has an annual contract with Harwell Drying and Restoration service and this cover extends to all parts of the City of London organisation. The Emergency Planning and Response Manual includes detailed information on salvage techniques, emergency equipment, plans of the building, response procedures for minor and major incidents, a contact and suppliers list, insurance and health and safety issues.

Salvage exercises and refreshers on salvage procedure are carried out at least once a year for conservators, building services staff and duty managers.

Assessment of collections

  • LMA recognises the importance of identifying and monitoring the condition of its collections.

A programme to assess the condition of archive items has been in place for many years. It has become more sophisticated as survey procedures have developed. The majority of catalogued archive collections have been surveyed and the information entered onto the Conservation Database. Items on the Database are categorised as; Fit, At Risk, and Unfit. Unfit items are recorded in the catalogue and are not available for public access. At Risk items are made available to the public in a closely supervised area of the Archive Study Area at LMA.

The size of the collections means that a complete item by item survey is not viable. Conservation Alert Forms (CAFs) are used to identify items that are damaged, but not yet listed. Items in circulation, being catalogued or in use in the reading rooms, are checked for condition and, if in need of treatment, a CAF is completed. After assessment by Conservation staff, the item is either repaired, returned or listed as Unfit/At Risk.

In addition to the surveys of Unfit/At Risk items, specific collections are surveyed as required. For example, assessments may aim to identify the condition of items for scanning, externally-funded conservation programmes or to identify packaging needs.

Prioritisation

  • LMA recognises the need to prioritise conservation treatments based on conservation requirements, access issues and the objectives of the Collections Policy.

The Conservation Database has over 25,000 items amongst the collections at LMA identified as Unfit/At Risk and to repair them all would take an estimated 480 years, therefore informed selection is essential.

Prioritisation is considered both at a collection level and individual item level. For example, collections are prioritised for preservation microfilming or digitisation if the provision of surrogate copies would significantly reduce the use of originals and provide additional benefit to the user. Individual items are prioritised for conservation treatment depending on demand from users, context within a collection and the condition of the item. The following list identifies the standard routes that items or collections might take to be accepted for conservation treatment:

  • Preparation for digital scanning: All collections selected for digital scanning are surveyed by a conservator. Options for treatment are assessed and collections treated to make them safe for handling by in-house Digital Services staff or the staff of scanning commercial companies like Ancestry. Digitisation preparation takes a minimal approach as the intention is to stabilise the items rather than make them robust enough for frequent handling
  • Access and enquiries: Users are able to lodge an access request for an Unfit item. The item is listed and prioritised for conservation treatment. Where possible, the item is treated and returned to use. Sometimes items produced to users in the Archive Study Area are found to be unfit subsequently and are withdrawn from access. Users are welcome to request to view such documents through the Access to Unfits programme, but will not be able to view them otherwise, until such time as they are made fit, even if they have consulted them previously.
  • Exhibitions and loans: Items requested for exhibition or loans are assessed and may be treated prior to release. The borrowing institution must comply with the loans and exhibitions policies
  • New acquisitions: All new material coming into the archive is assessed by a conservator. Mouldy material is cleaned, pests are identified and dealt with, and particularly dirty collections may require a general clean. Occasionally items may require immediate treatment or re-packaging. The items are also assessed against the Unfit/At Risk/Fit classification so that when the cataloguer enters the data to the cataloguing system, they can also add information on the accessibility of the document
  • Conservation Alert Forms: Conservation Alert Forms (CAFs) are completed by reading room or cataloguing staff and the item is passed to conservation for assessment. If a damaged item can be repaired in under three hours the work is carried out immediately
  • Service liaison: Items that require minor attention before they can be made available to users, eg removing staples or ties, releasing locks or re-packaging are treated on demand
  • Conservation projects: Designated conservation projects are carried out in addition to general conservation work. These are identified and organised whenever resources and funding (including designated funding from the owners or depositors of the items, or other partners including grant-funding bodies) are available

Conservation documentation

  • LMA recognises that accurate documentation is an essential element in any conservation programme.

Items are listed to register them into the Studio, treatments are reported on a conservation record sheet and on the individual’s timesheet. All documentation is in electronic form. Detailed guidelines for conservation documentation are given to all conservation staff.

All items coming into the conservation studio are entered into a dedicated Conservation module in the office’s archive software, currently Minisis Inc’s M2A system. Details captured at this point include simple referencing and cataloguing data, details of the condition of the item on entry to the studio and the conservator responsible; details of the tests and treatment carried out, along with the date treatment finishes.

Photographic documentation, prior, during and after the treatment, will be linked to M2A.

Conservation treatment

  • LMA recognises that high quality conservation procedures form the central tenet of the preservation and conservation programme.

The Studio is located in the Main Building at LMA in Clerkenwell. It is a newly-refurbished high-specification facility and currently accommodates seven conservators. In addition there are four free-standing tables each measuring 2.5 x 1.5 meters available for oversize items or as extra working areas.

Treatments carried out aim to stabilise the original document chemically and physically. A minimal intervention approach is emphasised to alter the item as little as possible in order to retain historical integrity as well as documentary evidence.

Treatments and the use of materials are guided by the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations (ECCO) International Code of Ethics and Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) guidelines. Conservators employ accepted conservation techniques and use materials that have been shown by research to be chemically and physically stable and interact as little as possible with the original material. All repairs will be detectable. All the repairing material can be removed even after a lengthy period of time after its application. Sympathetic materials will be used for repair to avoid stresses and distortion.  This does not mean ‘like with like’ but rather material that presents chemical and physical characteristics that do not damage the original material. All the original material that has not been used during the treatment will be retained along with the original document. Repairs should not obscure documentary evidence.

Internships, accreditation and conservation staff training

  • LMA encourages its conservation staff to engage in continuing professional development.

Staff are expected to maintain and develop a high level of awareness and understanding of up-to-date research on materials and practices in conservation and preservation by attending conferences, workshops and internal training sessions, and by self-study. LMA will, where appropriate, fund and support attendance at external training, but staff are expected to be responsible for their own professional development regardless of funded training. LMA does support those undertaking professional accreditation with time for study, however.

LMA also supports conservation training programmes, in the United Kingdom and abroad by hosting visits and by providing occasional funded and non-funded internships for conservation students and graduates.

Partnerships and projects

  • LMA encourages partnerships with external organisations as they make a significant contribution to the preservation and conservation service.

LMA has a history of developing and maintaining successful partnerships with London, the United Kingdom and internationally-based organisations.

Preservation and conservation projects have contributed to a number of successful partnerships run by LMA. There has been support and funding from a number of institutions including the National Manuscript Conservation Trust (NMCT), Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM), the Wellcome Trust (Research and Resources in Medical History scheme), and a number of depositors either funding specific projects or an ongoing programme of conservation with annual grants. Furthermore, research and training carried out by LMA staff on behalf of bodies such as the Archives and Records Association (ARA) formerly the Society of Archivists and ICON contributes both to the profile and standard of work within LMA, and to the national debate on the development of preservation in the United Kingdom.

LMA is supported by a large group of conservation volunteers.

Strategic objectives

In line with the aims of Conservation, strategic development is based on continuing commitment to integration, growth and quality, and has the following objectives:  

  • Integrated preservation management practices
  • The development and expansion of preservation provision
  • High quality conservation treatments carried out on site
  • Provision of preservation surrogates to British Standards Institue (BSI) and ISO standards
  • Provision of a safe storage environment for collections

 Implementation

  • Policy and procedures
  • Annual team plan/individual objectives embedded in the Departmental business planning process
  • Team learning and development plan and support for professional development
  • Improvements in storage facilities
  • Partnerships and projects (internal and external)

Policy and procedures

The following documents are active and are reviewed regularly, at least every two years:

  • Emergency Planning and Response Manual
  • Copying and handling guidelines
  • Exhibitions and loans policy and documentation
  • Labelling and Packaging guidelines
  • Trolley loading guidelines

Improvements in storage facilities

The storage facilities at LMA and Guildhall are regularly assessed and improved where possible. Improvements to the building and site are organised by the Buildings Management Plan. From the preservation perspective, changes that have an impact on the environmental conditions of the building are a priority. To this end the following actions are being undertaken:

  • Introduction of a continuous monitoring system to measure environmental conditions
  • An options appraisal to assess viable improvements for environment management
  • Input into Repository planning
  • Input into the Buildings Management Plan

Partnerships and projects

The continuation and expansion of partnerships is a priority for Conservation. The development of partnerships and projects will concentrate in the following areas:

  • Identifying collection needs and appropriate funding partnerships
  • Contributing to projects that further the collecting, and conservation and preservation policies
  • Developing partnerships which further regional and national preservation policy and practices

Feedback

Please complete a comment form at LMA or email LMA Enquries if you wish to give feedback on this policy.

This policy will be reviewed at least every two years to make sure it remains timely and relevant.

The policy was last reviewed in February 2020.