Conservation work- Wrexham Workhouse Collection

We do not have a conservator as part of our service and we rely upon external grants to fund most conservation work needed. This year, we have received part-funding from The Friends of the Clwyd Archives to restore seven admission/discharge registers from the Wrexham poor law union collection.

The registers offer a wealth of information on individuals in the Wrexham area including details such as name; dates of admission and discharge; work/profession (if any); religion; age and parish of inmates. Unfortunately the fragile condition of the registers meant that increased use would have led to further damage. Registers dated March 1890-October 1907 (GD/C/60/1-3) have been completed with later registers due to be repaired over the next six months.

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The conservation work- by Mark Allen, Conservator at Flintshire Record Office

The Denbighshire workhouse registers are very large and unwieldy volumes that have been bound in half leather with cloth sidings. Many have lost their spines and have severely damaged corners. Conservation work began by cleaning each folio within the book with a vinyl eraser and soft brush. The corners of the boards have been built up using hemp fibres and starch paste with a lining of Japanese paper. The cloth sidings have been repaired using archival linen in the areas over the board edges where the original cloth had been abraded and lost. A new spine hollow has been constructed using acid –free card and goatskin has been prepared by paring it to the required thickness. The new leather is inserted underneath the existing leather and new headcaps are formed.

The extensive repair work will enable the registers to be digitised in the future without incurring further losses. Each volume following conservation treatment will now be stored in a bespoke phase box which will protect the register from harmful exposure to light, dust and will prevent further abrasion ensuring safe storage and access for the future.

We are very grateful to The Friends of Clwyd Archives for their contribution to this conservation project. If you would like to join the Friends, click here for details.

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