The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh Conservation Programme
Conservation Treatment and Storage Project for Archive Collections
Since 2017 I have carried out several conservation projects for the works on paper belonging to the military museum in Brecon. The collections are comprised of archives documenting The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The Royal Regiment of Wales (formerly the 24th, 41st and 69th Foot, and later the South Wales Borderers, Welch Regiment and Monmouthshire Regiment)
The programmes were initiated with full condition assessment surveys. The archives assessed are mostly comprised of 19th century iron gall ink manuscripts on a range of papers. There are also a number of bindings, drawings, posters, hand drawn plans and maps. Following the surveys grant applications were made and National Manuscript Conservation Trust funding awarded enabling full preservation of this material.
The items are generally in poor condition with inadequate storage potentially causing further damage, particularly the microclimates created by polyvinyl and polyester sleeves. Treatments carried out include: surface cleaning and extensive repair work using appropriate procedures for unstable iron gall inks involving the use of Japanese tissue and gelatine low moisture adhesives.
Conservation treatment was followed by implementation of the fascicule storage method, to provide a safe and secure environment for iron gall ink manuscripts. ‘Fascicules are pamphlet-style bindings made up of blank, archival quality paper sheets with hooked guards as compensation. Papers are attached using a hinge of Japanese paper and wheat starch paste onto Fascicule sheets, usually one or two items per page’. Quote from Bodleian Library workshop. I previously took part in a fascicule training in Oxford and used this method initially on the Canova manuscripts belonging to Carmarthen Archive in 2016.
For other items conservation mounts, frames, boxes and folios were supplied. Bindings surveyed were conserved by Julian Thomas ACR, Book Conservator.
Photographic records were made throughout the consignments and conservation reports supplied on completion. I am currently working on a fourth group involving the 41st Regiment’s early archive.