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Annual Closure 2018

London County Council bathing of dogs poster, 1915

​Printed publication from the London County Council

Quite a few people ask London Metropolitan Archives what do you do for your Annual Closure over two weeks in November each year? Well actually, the answer is, a lot. Tim Harris, Assistant Director (Access and Buildings) at LMA, summarises this year’s activities.

Apart from essential maintenance and building work which cannot take place during opening hours, and the exhibition changeover and the installation of our new exhibition on Child Health in London, there has been new activity in the public rooms and much more behind the scenes.

In the public rooms, we were pleased to reconfigure the boomerang shaped desks in the Information Area to incorporate a new laptop hub to take advantage of improved Wi-Fi provision as well as concentrating the microfilm readers in an area with lower lighting levels (in response to user requests). The ‘new books’ shelves have been moved closer to the comfy seating area which makes them easier for browsing - and there are some excellent new books based on research undertaken in LMA. Overall the open library shelves have benefited from a massive tidy up and some more ready reference titles have been added from store.

In the Mediatheque, circulation space has been improved and we would encourage readers to use the massive range of digital resources to be found there literally at your fingertips including maps, photographs, films and sound recordings. You can see much more content on site at LMA than remotely online and new material is being added constantly. Re-configuration of the computers has enabled us to introduce larger shelves for essential note-taking on laptops and portable devices.

Staying with the graphic collections theme, 504 new items have been published on Collage, the London Picture Archive. About 100 prints and maps were released on to the LMA catalogue having been returned to their archival collections (deleting 50 duplicate references). Additionally, 153 volumes which contain print illustrations were identified.

Reviewing collections to identify duplicate and irrelevant material is part and parcel of everyday life for an archivist. This two-week closure period allows large series to be reviewed in a concentrated block of time which is not normally possible. This year large series from the London Residuary Body Finance Department (LRB/FN) were reviewed freeing up 20 linear metres of shelving.

One of the most important projects this year was reviewing the Primary Printed Sources collection (some 500 boxes). This material, comprising a vast quantity of wide-ranging subject matter, mostly of printed publications from the London County Council (LCC), has been added to the archive collection. It will now become available to users for the first time - and many of these publications are not available anywhere else. A large number of duplicates have been identified, thus saving almost 50 linear metres of space.

The LMA library has a long pedigree and has absorbed many different collections over the years, this has led to some duplication and 32 boxes of duplicates were identified for rehoming at Better World Books.

In the LMA archive collections, catalogue enhancement work was undertaken on 144 boxes of the City of London collection (COL/CLA); nine boxes of Coroner’s case files from West London, consisting of census years, were catalogued; and shelf surveys confirmed correct locations for literally thousands of archives.

Finally, the biggest figure of all: 3500 kg (or 3.5 tonnes) of redundant furniture and outdated equipment was removed from site, freeing up space for storage of exhibition material.

Annual Closure 2018 was a very busy and productive period - a big thank you to everyone involved! Look out for what’s new when you visit in person and online.

31 January 2019
Last Modified:
28 February 2019